UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said 26 African countries had received 15 million COVID-19 doses under the COVAX facility as of March 21.
Guterres said during a virtual meeting with the African Group at the UN that he was “deeply concerned” that many poor countries had not received a single dose.
In contrast, rich countries are on track to vaccinating their entire population, the UN chief said, reiterating his appeal for global vaccine equity.
“As I have said again and again, a COVID-19 vaccine must be a global public good available to everyone, everywhere.
“Vaccine equity is a moral test of global solidarity.
“We see many examples of vaccine nationalism and vaccine hoarding in wealthier countries, as well as continued side deals with manufacturers that undermine access for all.
“The world needs to unite to produce and distribute sufficient vaccines for all, which means at least doubling manufacturing capacity around the world,’’ Guterres said.
COVAX is a UN-led initiative aimed at equitable global access to COVID-19 vaccines.
It is seeking to provide vaccines to about a third of each participating country’s population by the end of 2021, according to the UN.
The organisation says more than $2 billion (N776 billion) is still needed under COVAX to fully meet its goal to vaccinate those most in need by the end of the year.
Guterres also used the meeting to reiterate his appeal for debt relief for African countries to “ease the economic and social fallout of the crisis’’.
He equally called for more liquidity for Africa “through a new allocation of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) and a reallocation of unused SDRs’’.
The UN chief urged international financial institutions to increase their resources in support of developing countries, particularly in Africa.