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Share the hoard

As countries like the Philippines suffer from debilitating delays in their COVID-19 mass vaccination programs, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres criticized developed countries for creating a “stockpile” of vaccines and called on them to share with the rest of the world to help end the pandemic.

“I’m very concerned with this very unfair distribution of vaccines in the world,” Guterres said in an interview broadcast Sunday by the Canadian channel CBC.

He criticized the “self-interest” of rich countries for building up vaccine supplies beyond the needs of their populations, saying that such a strategy doesn’t make sense.

The secretary-general lamented that the Covax international system of vaccine aid to disadvantaged countries is having “difficulties” because “there’s been a lot of hoarding.”

Guterres said that ending the pandemic “depends a lot on having the possibility to vaccinate as quickly as possible the population all over the world,” and he pleaded in favor of a mechanism powered by the G20 to put in place a global vaccination plan.

The rich and powerful countries that have managed to secure their vaccine supplies cannot be faulted for signing as many contracts as they could when the COVID-19 vaccines were still in the development stage. Nations whose leaders were proactive during this global crisis were rewarded with access to much-needed vaccines while those whose leaders sat around and did nothing, or worse, watched idly as their minions dropped the ball, naturally got nothing.

But now that the developed world has already succeeded in jumpstarting their vaccination programs, it is time for them to share the spoils of their preparedness and competence. Any excess supply of the COVID-19 vaccine would best serve the global community if redistributed to help the nations whose people are still suffering from the worst effects of COVID-19 because of the poor quality governance.

Hopefully the United Nations and the G20 can work together and coordinate with the nations that have a surplus of vaccines to allow those that have fallen behind, for one reason or another, to catch up in the global race towards herd immunity.*

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