Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message to the International Forum on COVID-19 Vaccine Cooperation today:
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to devastate our world, claiming more than 4 million lives. The remarkable rapid development of COVID-19 vaccines offers great hope. But these vaccines need to reach everyone, everywhere as quickly as possible. This is a matter of fairness and justice — but it’s also critical to avoid the emergence of further variants that can resist the current vaccines and undermine national vaccination efforts.
I welcome the agreements signed by Sinopharm and Sinovac with COVAX, unlocking potential supplies of over 500 million doses. Overall, we need more than 11 billion doses to vaccinate 70 per cent of the global population — a key threshold to ending the acute phase of this pandemic.
This will take the largest public health effort in history. The world needs a global vaccine plan to at least double production of vaccines and ensure equitable distribution, using COVAX as the platform. We also need an emergency task force, at the G20 level, to coordinate its implementation.
The doubling of manufacturing capacity requires a much greater sharing of technology and know-how, strengthening and building local production capacities around the world and addressing supply chain bottlenecks.
This first meeting of the International Forum on COVID-19 Vaccine Cooperation is a critical opportunity to bring together countries with vaccine production capacities, pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers to advance global cooperation on vaccines.
I thank the Government of China for its leadership to address equitable access to vaccines for developing countries — the most pressing issue of our times.
For information media. Not an official record.