Antonio Manuel de Oliveira Guterres

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday called for global cooperation on defeating the coronavirus pandemic and on vaccine development.

“We need a vaccine to be affordable and available to all – a people’s vaccine,” the UN chief told a press conference.
“Starting now, a vaccine must be seen as a global public good, because Covid-19 respects no borders.”

Guterres called for a “quantum leap in funding” for the World Health Organization’s initiative to speed up the development of Covid-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics.

More than 170 nations are in talks to join the vaccine initiative, known as COVAX, though the United States has rejected joining the global effort.

Guterres noted that inoculation alone cannot solve this crisis, especially in the near term, saying existing tools should be expanded and treatments provided.

He also warned that mistrust in vaccines is on the rise around the world and called for efforts to “halt deadly misinformation.”

The UN secretary general on Wednesday also issued a report documenting what the world body has done to support states since the start of the coronavirus crisis, and what the world must still do.

Guterres was speaking ahead of the UN General Assembly’s meeting of world leaders, which begins on September 22.

The annual gathering usually sees thousands of dignitaries descend on the UN headquarters in New York for more than a week of speeches and meetings. This year, the UN has invited heads of state to submit video speeches due to the coronavirus pandemic and related travel restrictions.

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