Ambassadors convened to assess the implementation of two resolutions: one on the Secretary-call General’s for a worldwide cease-fire during the COVID crisis, and the other on a partnership to make vaccination access more convenient.
Ted Chaiban, the Global Lead Coordinator for COVID-19 Vaccine Country-Readiness and Delivery, underlined the need of moving fast this year.
“A window of opportunity is rapidly closing” he stated, “We risk losing momentum and failing on vaccination equity.”
“As a result, we must take advantage of every chance to package or integrate COVID-19 immunization with other health and humanitarian efforts, and use these investments to enhance long-term health systems.”
Although universal immunization is critical to ending the pandemic, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) notified the Council that it is not taking place in conflict zones.
“The good news is that as the number of vaccination doses grows, so does the likelihood of getting injections in the arms,” she noted.
During times of conflict, the ICRC has advocated for the implementation of international humanitarian law. Medical institutions and personnel, as well as humanitarian workers, must be protected against attacks.
COVID-19 vaccination must be part of a bigger health-care strategy that includes greater health-care spending.
According to Dr. Martinez, this is a perfect time to look at how COVID-19 vaccines may be consistently delivered and paired with other health services that are prioritized during wartime.
Finally, she stressed that local residents must be integrated in immunization programs to increase frontline worker safety.
Dr. Martinez warned that, as happened in West Africa with Ebola and is again happening in many countries throughout the outbreak, a lack of participation might weaken public trust in vaccines.
Vaccine fear has been heightened, according to Dr. Emmanuel Ojwang, Health and Nutrition Coordinator for the humanitarian group CARE in South Sudan, by disinformation about vaccines, including claims that they cause infertility in men and women.
Despite major obstacles such as food shortages, intercommunal violent flare-ups, floods, and a shaky health system, the government and its supporters were able to deliver COVID-19 vaccinations.
He went on to say that strategic community education campaigns and religious leaders’ involvement were critical in debunking misconceptions and lies.
Since the UK is the rotating Security Council president this month, the meeting was chaired by Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon, the UK Minister of State whose portfolio includes the UN.
Resolution 2565 on global immunization access partnership, he stressed, must remain a major priority.
“What is certain is that comprehensive, safe, and unrestricted humanitarian access, as well as the protection of health workers in compliance with International Humanitarian Law,” he stated.
According to Lord Ahmad, the Security Council can help ensure that COVID-19 vaccination is prioritized by countries in conflict zones, as well as encourage efforts to increase international coordination.
According to Sarah bint Yousif Al Amiri, UAE’s Minister of State for Advanced Technology, this year presents the finest opportunity yet to boost immunization in the Council’s agenda nations.
“Vaccine distribution that is fair and equitable is both a strategic investment and a moral imperative.”
“It’s also doable,” she continued.
As a result, the Council must continue to emphasize the “security benefits” of vaccination, as she put it.
Ms. Al Amiri, like earlier speakers, underlined the need of expanded humanitarian access to vaccination programs, which improves the safety of health workers and people they serve.