The presidents of Mexico and Argentina on Tuesday pressed the United Nations and the world’s richest nations to increase poor countries’ access to the COVID-19 vaccine and derided their efforts as totally inadequate.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said UN program to ensure the poorest can get a vaccine is not working. Also arguing that 80% of shipments are concentrated in 10 countries, which is “totally unfair”.
“Where is the Universal Brotherhood?” In addition, he said at a joint press conference with his Argentine counterpart Alberto Fernandez, a compatriot on the left who visited Mexico.
“The U.N. must intervene because it looks like a flower vase, it’s a decoration,” furthermore, Lopez Obrador said.
Fernandez backed up his host’s words, noting that he and French President Emmanuel Macron are pushing a group of the top 20 economies. Which include Mexico and Argentina, to make vaccines a “global good.”
While according to the Oxford-based Our World in Data research group. Mexico delivers 1.3 vaccines per 100 people and Argentina 1.6. In contrast, the UK has 27.0 and the US has 19.2. The world average is 2.7, the data show.
Severe inequality in vaccine distribution has raised criticism. But the world’s richest countries have to wait months if not years for full access to the vaccine.
Lopez Obrador has also accused the richest countries of “hoarding” vaccine supplies and his the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marcelo Ebrard. Whereas he has raised his concerns about the issue at the UN Security Council.
Ebrard said in addition, he was disappointed that the vaccine had not reached Mexico under the UN World Health Organization’s COVAX program, which aims to ensure equal access.
Both Mexico and Argentina have been criticized for their efforts to vaccinate their populations. And a joint project to develop an AstraZeneca vaccine for Latin America has yet to yield results.
Lopez Obrador said AstraZeneca’s first shots will be ready in early April. Officials previously said March.
Fernandez has defended himself against privileged access to vaccines for those close to the government, while the spread in Mexico has been hampered by promised supply failures.
Lopez Obrador also took the flak for his refusal to wear a mask and face no more when he shook hands with Fernandez when they met on Tuesday.
The two men exchanged heartfelt compliments during a press conference where they both attacked critical media.
On the other side, US Catholic leaders asked Biden to lead an initiative to help poor countries
The US Conference of Bishops and alliance of religious groups on Tuesday called on President Joe Biden. And they said to provide substantial support to the IMF’s emergency reserve fund to help poor countries devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.
In a letter to Biden, the governing body of the Church clearly said that the United States urgently needs to take action to help the poorest countries on a humanitarian basis. But also to support its own economic interests and promote trade with developing countries.
“The U.S. government is vital to ensuring the world emerges from this pandemic with greater resilience,”. The group wrote, citing World Bank estimates that in case of the pandemic of Covid-19. That pushed 150 million people into extreme poverty this year.
Joe Biden is the second Catholic elected President of the United States. But his support for reproductive rights has strained relations with the Conservative Bishops’ Conference.
In the letter, the bishops and the Jubilee USA Network said the Biden government must “lead the world” on new issues of its own currency or IMF Special Drawing Rights. As happened during the 2008-2009 global financial crisis.
The Biden administration has not said whether to change the Trump administration’s position by blocking new issues. US support is very important to increase reserves because it is the largest shareholder in the IMF.
The bishops and Jubilee welcomed the emerging consensus on a new SDR of around $ 500 billion. However, a larger package is needed to meet the enormous financial needs arising from the pandemic and years of increasing debt in poor countries.
They asked Biden to work with Congress and the IMF to issue $ 3 trillion in SDR. Hence $ 1 trillion would be available to develop countries. Democrats pass laws in Congress to support larger numbers.