UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 17 (CNA) - The United Nations on Wednesday (Feb 17) led calls for a coordinated global effort to vaccinate against COVID-19, warning that gaping inequities in initial efforts put the whole planet at risk.
Foreign ministers met virtually for a first-ever UN Security Council session on vaccinations called by current chair Britain, which said the world had a "moral duty" to act together against the pandemic that has killed more than 2.4 million people.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres voiced alarm that just 10 nations have administered 75 per cent of doses so far - and 130 countries have had none at all.
"The world urgently needs a global vaccination plan to bring together all those with the required power, scientific expertise and production and financial capacities," Guterres said.
He said the Group of 20 major economies was in the best position to set up a task force on financing and implementation of global vaccinations and offered full support of the United Nations.
"If the virus is allowed to spread like wildfire in the Global South, it will mutate again and again. New variants could become more transmissible, more deadly and, potentially, threaten the effectiveness of current vaccines and diagnostics," Guterres said.
"This can prolong the pandemic significantly, enabling the virus to come back to plague the Global North."
Henrietta Fore, head of the UN children's agency UNICEF, said: "The only way out of this pandemic for any of us is to ensure vaccinations are available for all of us."