BERLIN

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Thursday urged world’s rich nations to make stronger contributions to make coronavirus vaccine available to everyone on the planet.

“It is not with vaccine nationalism that we are going to defeat the COVID, it is with international cooperation,” he said at a news conference in Berlin, following his meeting with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.

Guterres said some rich countries were purchasing vaccines in huge amounts, even several times more than their population, while UN-led programs like COVAX lacked sufficient resources to support the poor countries.

“We have a gap of $5 billion until the end of January, and a global gap of more than 20 billion that needs to be addressed in the context of the program,” he said.

According to the estimates of the humanitarian groups, nine out of 10 people in poor countries are set to miss out on COVID-19 vaccine next year, unless urgent action is taken by the governments.

“We need to be able to make vaccine available to everybody, everywhere, and affordable for everybody, everywhere,” he said.

“[Governments] cannot protect their peoples if other peoples are not protected. And the nature always strikes back, as we unfortunately have been witnessing in relation to the COVAX, in relation to the COVID, and in relation the climate change,” he added.

Developed countries, representing 14% of the world’s population, have already purchased more than 50% of the most promising vaccines, according to the People’s Vaccine Alliance, a global coalition including Oxfam and Amnesty International among others.

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