The United Nations and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement on Wednesday called on governments, the private sector, international organizations and civil society to unite toward “a people’s vaccine” against COVID-19.
COVID-19 is a global disease affecting people around the world but with a disproportionately higher impact on vulnerable groups and individuals. As the race to identify the most effective tools to combat this virus continues with a steady pace, the spirit of global solidarity must prevail: no one should be left behind, said the two organizations in a joint statement.
“A people’s vaccine should protect the affluent in cities and the poor in rural communities, the old in care homes and the young in refugee camps. A global social contract for a people’s vaccine against COVID-19 is a moral imperative that brings us all together in our shared humanity,” said the statement.
They stressed the importance of the engagement of communities, saying that biomedical interventions will only be partially effective without people’s engagement and ownership of the response to the pandemic.
“We, therefore, call for governments and nongovernment actors to prioritize investments in communities and to ensure all people, without distinctions, are provided with the relevant knowledge, resources and tools to protect themselves from COVID-19. Until a people’s vaccine becomes available, any hope of reducing the impact of this pandemic will primarily rest on the people’s knowledge and behavior and in their ability to withstand the direct and secondary impacts of COVID-19.”