UN Secretary-General António Guterres has warned that vaccines alone cannot defeat the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Guterres gave the warning at a news conference in New York on Wednesday ahead of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) High-Level Week starting on Monday.
“Many pin their hopes on a vaccine, but let’s be clear – there is no panacea in a pandemic.
“A vaccine alone cannot solve this crisis; certainly not in the near term,” he told newsmen.
The warning comes as the world eagerly awaits a vaccine to defeat the pandemic, which the UN Chief said had reached the “grimmest of milestones”.
As of Wednesday afternoon, there were no fewer than 29.4 million confirmed cases, including 931,321 deaths, according to the World Health Organisation.
Guterres recommended the massive expansion of “new and existing tools that can respond to new cases and provide vital treatment to suppress transmission and save lives, especially over the next 12 months.
“But starting now, a vaccine must be seen as a global public good because COVID-19 respects no borders.
“We need a vaccine to be affordable and available to all. A people’s vaccine.
“That means a quantum leap in funding for the ACT-Accelerator and its COVAX Facility.”
The UN Chief also drew attention to what he called “vaccine hesitancy”, which he blamed on misinformation.
He noted that people should be willing to take a vaccine for it to work, saying, however, that the prospect was being threatened by “proliferation of misinformation about a future vaccine.
“This is fuelling vaccine hesitancy and igniting wild conspiracy theories. Mistrust in vaccines is on the rise around the world.
“We have seen alarming reports of large segments of the population in some countries indicating their reluctance or even refusal to take a future COVID-19 vaccine.
“In the face of this lethal disease, we must do our utmost to halt deadly misinformation.
“We must also do far more to address the global fragilities that the virus has exposed,” he said.