UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at a press conference in Beirut in December 2021
ZÜRICH - UN chief Antonio Guterres told the all-virtual Davos forum on Monday that the world must vaccinate everybody against COVID-19 to ensure a way out of the pandemic.
The face-to-face gathering of political and corporate power players in the Swiss Alps is online for the second year in a row due to a pandemic that shows no sign of abating.
"The last two years have demonstrated a simple but brutal truth -- if we leave anyone behind, we leave everyone behind," said the United Nations Secretary-General.
"If we fail to vaccinate every person, we give rise to new variants that spread across borders and bring daily life and economies to a grinding halt."
Guterres said the international community needs to "confront the pandemic with equity and fairness."
He noted that the World Health Organization unveiled a strategy last autumn to vaccinate 40 per cent of the planet's population by the end of 2021 and 70 per cent by the middle of this year.
"We are nowhere near these targets," Guterres told the World Economic Forum.
"Vaccination rates in high-income countries are, shamefully, seven times higher than in African countries. We need vaccine equity, now," he added.
Guterres said pharmaceutical companies should "stand in solidarity with developing countries by sharing licenses, know-how and technology so we can all find a way out of this pandemic."