UN chief welcomes the re-engagement of US with WHO
(Sourced from PTI)
The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the United States' re-engagement with the World Health Organization. He said, "Washington joining the global vaccine initiative will boost efforts to ensure equitable access to vaccines for all countries." "Now is the time for unity and for the international community to work together in solidarity to stop the virus and its shattering consequences," he added.
A statement issued by the UN chief's spokesperson on Wednesday said, "Supporting the WHO is absolutely critical to the world's efforts for a better-coordinated response against COVID-19." "With vaccines being a critical tool in the battle against COVID-19, the United States joining and supporting the COVAX facility will give momentum for the efforts to ensure equitable access to vaccines for all countries," it added.
Angry at the WHO for its handling of the coronavirus, Joe Biden's predecessor Donald Trump had halted funding to the global health agency last year. His administration had also formally notified the United Nations of its decision to withdraw the US from the WHO.
As the world reached a heart-wrenching milestone of two million COVID-19-related deaths less than a week ago, Guterres had lamented that the deadly impact of the pandemic has worsened due to the absence of a global coordinated effort. He also said that the vaccinationalism by governments is self-defeating and will delay a global recovery.
To note, the US has been the largest funder to the WHO, contributing more than $450 million per annum. The US has been a party to the WHO Constitution since June 21, 1948.
Guterres has said, "The UN is supporting countries to mobilize the largest global immunization effort in history, and the WHO is committed to making sure that the vaccines are seen as global public goods people's vaccines." "That requires full funding for the access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator and its COVAX facility which is dedicated to making vaccines available and affordable to all," he added.
He stressed that the manufacturers of COVID-19 vaccines need to step up their commitment to work with the COVAX facility and countries around the world to ensure enough supply and fair distribution.