80 countries commit at UN to equitable vaccine access

By: AFP      Published: 12:15 PM, 27 Mar, 2021
80 countries commit at UN to equitable vaccine access

Some 180 of the 193 UN members have committed to ensuring equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines, the United Nations said Friday.

"We are deeply concerned that despite international agreements, initiatives, and general declarations, distribution of Covid-19 vaccines is still uneven worldwide, both among and within countries," said the political declaration, initiated by Lebanon.

Noting that many countries do not yet have access to vaccines, the signatories "stress the need for global solidarity and multilateral cooperation to increase vaccines production and distribution, on regional and global levels."

The UN-backed Covax initiative to help poorer countries access Covid-19 jabs is the "appropriate mechanism" for ensuring "fair access to vaccines for all," the text said.

The signatories "actively encourage further sharing of vaccine doses from all countries in a position to do so, to low and middle-income countries and others countries in need."

By Friday, the document had not gained the support of countries including North Korea, Myanmar, Benin, Burundi, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Syria and the Seychelles. 

The Vatican and Palestine, which have observer status, also had not yet signed the declaration.