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Amid Scarce Supply, All Countries Must Receive Some COVID-19 Vaccine Doses Now to Ensure No One Is Left Behind, Secretary-General Tells United Kingdom Cabinet Office Event

Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message for the United Kingdom Cabinet Office event themed “How can we ensure that no country is left behind in the fight against COVID-19”, held today:

We begin 2021 facing a pandemic that continues to surge around the globe with new and more infectious variants.  Our world can only get ahead of this virus one way — in solidarity.  Our shared goals must be clear:  prevent new infections; protect health systems; save lives and livelihoods; and chart the way to recovery.

2021 brings a measure of hope.  COVID-19 vaccines are being developed in record time.  But, supplies are scarce and distribution is uneven.  We are seeing a massive difference in vaccines reaching high-income countries quickly, while the world’s poorest have none at all.  Manufacturers and some countries are pursuing bilateral deals over a multilateral approach, even procuring beyond need.

We must work together.  COVID-19 does not respect national boundaries.  And so we must respect another truth:  all countries need some doses now to vaccinate all health‑care and front‑line workers, instead of some countries getting them all.

We must ensure that these vaccines are seen as a global public good — [a] people’s vaccines — accessible and affordable to all.  This is in every country’s self-interest.  It is also the fastest way to reopen the world economy and start a sustainable recovery.

We have a global solution to tackle the pandemic that has already achieved results, but it desperately needs funding to further its work.   The Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator is the only global solution to tackle this pandemic.  With equitable access at its heart, the ACT-Accelerator — and its vaccine pillar COVAX — can help us end the acute phase of this pandemic.

Let us honour the 2 million people who have died, the 90 million who have been infected, and the many more millions of family members coping with loss.  Let us resolve to end this pandemic through international coordination, solidarity and support.  Now is the time to make sure that no country — and no one — is left behind.

For information media. Not an official record.