The United Nations’ health chief has declared that positive results from coronavirus vaccine trials mean the world “can begin to dream about the end of the pandemic”.
But he said rich and powerful nations must not trample the poor and marginalised “in the stampede for vaccines”.
World Health Organisation Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus cautioned that while the virus can be stopped, “the path ahead remains treacherous,” The Telegraph reports.
He said the pandemic had shown humanity at “its best and worst”, pointing to “inspiring acts of compassion and self-sacrifice, breathtaking feats of science and innovation, and heartwarming demonstrations of solidarity, but also disturbing signs of self-interest, blame-shifting and divisions”.
Referring to the current upsurge in infections and deaths, Dr Tedros said without naming any countries that “where science is drowned out by conspiracy theories, where solidarity is undermined by division, where sacrifice is substituted with self-interest, the virus thrives, the virus spreads”.
In his address to the UN General Assembly’s first high-level session on the pandemic he warned that a vaccine “will not address the vulnerabilities that lie at its root” – poverty, hunger, inequality and climate change, which he said must be tackled once the pandemic ends.
On vaccines, Dr Tedros said that “the light at the end of the tunnel is growing steadily brighter” but vaccines “must be shared equally as global public goods, not as private commodities that widen inequalities and become yet another reason some people are left behind”.
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