By M Mushfiqul Fazal
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Wednesday that he will take a COVID-19 vaccine publicly when such a vaccine becomes available to him.
Asked whether he will take a vaccine and whether he will do it publicly given wariness among people toward vaccination, Guterres said: "I, of course, intend to receive the vaccine when it becomes available for me in whatever situation that will be justified for that. And obviously, I would have no doubt in doing it publicly."
He encouraged everybody to be vaccinated.
"I encourage everybody, as access to the vaccine (becomes available), to be vaccinated, because it is a service not only that we provide to ourselves. Each one of us being vaccinated provides a service to the whole community because we are no longer spreading, there is no risk of spreading the disease," he told reporters after an annual United Nations-African Union conference.
"So vaccination is for me a moral obligation in relation to all of us."
Guterres reiterated his call for a COVID-19 vaccine to be a global public good available to everyone, everywhere, and particularly, available in Africa.
He also repeated his appeal for a bold and coordinated international approach on debt relief efforts for African countries, including debt cancelation, where appropriate, as well as the meaningful increase in the financial support to African countries to provide the necessary liquidity and to finance the recovery.
Most African countries lack the financing to adequately respond to the COVID-19 crisis, due in part to declining demand and prices of their commodity exports, he said.