Jokowi calls for equal vaccine access in UNGA address

24-Sep-2020 Intellasia | JakartaPost | 6:02 AM Print This Post

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has called for equal access to future vaccines and has urged countries to work together and set aside rivalries to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic in his first-ever address to the United Nations general Assembly.

World leaders have submitted prerecorded messages to be played at the annual assembly, which began on Tuesday, as confirmed infections worldwide have surpassed 31.7 million and more than 975,000 people have died, according to Worldometer.

The president urged nations to cooperate and promoted “a win-win approach” to tackling both the health and socioeconomic effects of the pandemic.

“A vaccine will be a game changer in the war against the pandemic. We need to work together to ensure that all countries have equal access to a safe vaccine at affordable prices,” the President said in his statement to the assembly, which aired on Wednesday morning Jakarta time.

The message echoed concerns expressed by other countries at the assembly. Many nations sought assurances from superpowers that they would commit to keeping access to future vaccines open, fearing rising vaccine nationalism.

UN Secretary general Antonio Guterres said the UN was working to ensure that treatments and therapies remained global public goods and that future vaccines would be available and affordable everywhere.

“Yet some countries are reportedly making side deals exclusively for their own populations,” Guterres said. “Such ‘vaccinationalism’ is not only unfair, it is self-defeating. None of us is safe until all of us are safe. Likewise, economies cannot run with a runaway pandemic.”

More than 170 candidate vaccines for COVID-19 are being tested worldwide, but only 9 have reached phase 3 safety trials. Most of them are being developed by American and Chinese vaccine producers.

In his address, United States President Donald Trump provided little assurance about future vaccines while blaming China for the pandemic and calling on the UN to hold Beijing accountable for its actions.

“Thanks to our efforts, three vaccines are in the final stage of clinical trials. We are mass producing them in advance so they can be delivered immediately upon arrival. We will distribute a vaccine,” Trump claimed in his address. “We will defeat the virus. We will end the pandemic, and we will enter a new era of unprecedented prosperity, cooperation and peace.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping said his country was also developing several COVID-19 vaccines that were in phase 3 clinical trials.

“When their development is complete and they are ready for use, these vaccines will be made a global public good and will be provided to other developing countries on a priority basis,”? Xi said in prerecorded remarks.

While the vaccine race has accentuated geopolitical rivalries, such as between the US and China, there is no guarantee that any of the vaccine candidates will be safe and effective for widespread use.


Category: Indonesia

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