The pulse between rich countries and the rest for access to vaccines against covid-19 reached the United Nations Security Council, with a claim from Mexico for the “hoarding” of doses.
During a virtual meeting of the council this Wednesday, the Mexican Foreign Minister, Marcelo Ebrard, cited “alarming” data from the World Health Organization (WHO) according to which 10 countries that add up to 60% of global GDP have applied three-quarters of the first doses of vaccines administered.
In turn, he added, it is estimated that there are more than 100 countries where no one has received even a dose or hardly any “of a symbolic nature” was administered.
“What is happening today opens a huge gap between that small group of countries that I mentioned and the rest of the countries, the bulk of the international community, which does not have sufficient access to vaccines,” said Ebrard.
“We have never seen such a deep divide that affected so many in such a short time,” he continued.
And he urged “to reverse the injustice that is being committed, because the security of all humanity depends on it.”
Mexico is the third country in the world with the highest absolute number of deaths from covid-19 (almost 176,000), behind the United States (almost 490,000) and Brazil (almost 241,000), according to Johns Hopkins University.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who tested positive for covid-19 in January, has been criticized for trying to minimize the severity of the pandemic or avoid following precautionary measures recommended by science, such as the use of a mask.
Although in comparison with other Latin American countries, Mexico obtained its first doses of vaccines early, it recently suffered from a shortage of them and lacks the capacity to manufacture its own at the speed or in the necessary quantities.
However, this week the country received a shipment of vaccines from the pharmaceutical company Pfizer and announced the purchase of millions of doses from that and other firms such as AstraZeneca, CanSino, Sinovac and Sputnik V.
In his message to the UN Security Council, Ebrard thanked the “support” that Mexico received from the European Union, India and China to access vaccines.
He also indicated that Mexico and Argentina reached an agreement with the Anglo-Swedish laboratory AstraZeneca to produce vaccines in both Latin American countries and make them available to the region.
But he affirmed that the Covax mechanism promoted by the WHO to achieve universal access to doses “has been insufficient so far” and “to date no vaccines have been distributed via this multilateral instrument.”
“We urge countries to avoid the hoarding of vaccines and accelerate the first stages of Covax deliveries,” said Ebrard on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), whose pro tempore presidency is held by Mexico.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.