UN secretary general calls for ‘people’s vaccine’

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UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres

The secretary general of the United Nations has stressed that as wealthy nations roll out the coronavirus vaccine for their citizens the world also needs to ensure it is available for “everyone, everywhere”.

In an address to the German Parliament, Antonio Guterres praised researchers from Mainz-based BioNTech who teamed up with US firm Pfizer to put the first thoroughly vetted vaccine on the market.

He said every German should be “very proud of their achievements”.

Mr Guterres told the Parliament: “Our challenge now is to ensure that vaccines are treated as a public good – accessible and affordable to everyone, everywhere. A people’s vaccine.”

He said the UN is committed to providing news and advice people can trust and working to build confidence in the vaccine “guided by science, grounded in facts” to combat “virus of misinformation”.

Mr Guterres added: “Across the globe, we have seen how populist approaches that ignore science have misled the public.

“Coupled with false news and wild conspiracies, things have become manifestly worse.”

He heaped praise on German Chancellor Angela Merkel, saying her “no-nonsense, steady, compassionate and wise guiding hand” has helped steer Germany through the pandemic.

Mr Guterres told her: “I commend your early and decisive steps driven by science, local data and local action that suppressed transmission of the virus and saved lives.”

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