Vice President Faisal Naseem on Friday emphasised the imminent need for the world to come together in collective commitment to ensure an equitable rollout of vaccines to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic. He made the statement at the plenary segment of the high-level discussion held at the United Nations (UN) on the theme “Galvanising Momentum for Universal Vaccination.” The Vice President stated that the Maldives stands in solidarity with all countries in this effort to ensure universal vaccination.
Remarking that the pace and reach of Covid-19 vaccines have been uneven, unfair, and unbalanced globally, the Vice President shed light on the situation in developing and low-income countries where large percentages of the population remain disproportionately unvaccinated. “We must demonstrate the necessary leadership and political will to ensure that vaccines are truly universal,” he said. “No one is safe until we are all safe.”
The Vice President called on world leaders to treat vaccines as a public good and urged all countries to support and commit to waiving the Covid-19 vaccine patents, as proposed in 2020 by the World Trade Organisation (WTO). “We must also fill a grant funding gap of US$16 billion for ACT Accelerator to fight Covid-19 in low and middle-income countries,” he added.
Vice President Faisal Naseem also discussed the fiscal implications borne by developing countries through the pandemic and called on international financial institutions to work with governments to provide the financial assistance needed for pandemic policy responses. He then briefed the delegation on “Covid-19 Dhifaau”, the national vaccination programme, stating that the Maldives has made tremendous progress in its pandemic response. The Vice President credited national effort and the assistance and generous donations of bilateral partners to Maldives’ success.
The Vice President concluded his remarks by calling on world leaders to take prudent action to ensure vaccine equity and achieve universal vaccination.