The UN Security Council has called for an accelerated availability of coronavirus vaccines for Africa and said the continent had so far only received 2% of the vaccines produced globally.
The comments were made in a presidential statement approved by all 15 members at a council meeting on promoting post-pandemic recovery in Africa on Wednesday.
The statement also there should be “equitable access to quality, safe, efficacious, and affordable Covid-19 diagnostics, therapeutics, medicines and vaccines”.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said: “Equitable and sustainable vaccine roll-out worldwide is the quickest path towards a fast, and fair recovery.”
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Guterres said health care systems should be better supported and have more effective vaccine access through the global Covax scheme.
He also called for the removal of export restrictions and reiterated his appeal early in the pandemic for a global ceasefire so that countries could focus on fighting the pandemic.
Guterres said that despite the call being welcomed by some armed groups and governments, clashes still continued in countries such as Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Meanwhile, China on Thursday called on the international community to increase its assistance in COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Africa.
It comes one day after a pledge by heads of state to allow Africa to lift patents so the continent could produce its own vaccines.
So far there have been 3.4 million coronavirus cases in Africa and more than 85,000 deaths.