‘Stop Vaccine Nationalism’: EAM Jaishankar to UNSC panel on Covid

United Nations: India, which has shipped “Made In India” Covid-19 vaccines to 25 countries, on Wednesday appealed the international community to stop “vaccine nationalism” and actively encourage “internationalism”, underlining that hoarding superfluous doses will defeat global efforts to attain collective health security and combat the deadly pandemic.

Addressing the UN Security Council, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar outlined key points for consideration of the international community to help the world put the COVID-19 pandemic decisively behind it and to emerge more resilient.

“Stop ‘vaccine nationalism”; indeed, actively encourage internationalism. Hoarding superfluous doses will defeat our efforts towards attaining collective health security,” he said, speaking at the open debate on the implementation of resolution 2532 (2020) on the cessation of hostilities in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jaishankar voiced concern that lack of global coordination regarding vaccine distribution will hit conflict affected areas and poorer countries the hardest.

He called on the international community to persist with the vaccination drive, along with other public health measures, to slow down the virus’s ability to infect new people and mutate further.

He said nations must collaborate with each other on genomic surveillance to track virus mutations and variants and exchange information in this regard in a regular and timely fashion.

He underscored that there is also need to effectively address public resistance to vaccines.

“Vaccine-related information must be contextual, empathetic, and culturally sensitive, while providing scientific and accurate facts to allay the fears and concerns of the public,” he said.

Addressing the Council, Jaishankar voiced concern that routine immunization programs have been thrown into disarray due to the pandemic, with about 80 million children in at least 68 countries at risk of diphtheria, measles and polio.

He called for urgent resumption of immunization programs across the world before children’s lives are threatened by other diseases.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, addressing the meeting, noted with concern that the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines is generating hope, but just 10 countries have administered 75 per cent of all COVID-19 vaccines.

Jaishankar told the Council that India, the pharmacy of the world, has been very much at the forefront of the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. India earlier provided critical medicines, diagnostic kits, ventilators and PPEs to more than 150 countries, about 80 of them on a grant basis.

“Today, the pharmacy of the world is stepping forward to meet the global vaccines challenge,” he said adding that two vaccines, including one indigenously developed, have already been granted emergency authorization. 30 more candidates are under various stages of development.”

He also announced a gift of 2 lakh doses of Covid vaccine for UN peacekeepers.

Image courtesy of (Photo courtesy PTI)

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