PM advocates vaccine for all and sundry

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While making an opening statement at the special virtual segment of the UN’s ESCFD, he said production of the vaccine must be ramped up

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Monday said the international community must ensure that the coronavirus vaccine was available to everyone, everywhere and as soon as possible, stressing that if it was not done, the virus will roam around and come back.

While making an opening statement at the special virtual segment of the UN’s Economic and Social Council on Financing for Development here, the Prime Minister said the deliberations of the forum this year were critical as the world battled the corona virus and its massive socio-economic fallout.

He said Pakistan contained the first two waves of the virus through a policy of “smart lockdowns.” “We implemented an eight billion dollar relief package to support the poor and vulnerable, and to keep our economy afloat at the same time.”

The Prime Minister remarked, “Now, unfortunately we are facing the third wave of the virus. Insha’Allah, we hope to defeat this wave as well. We need a lot of luck, as everyone does.”

Production of the vaccine must be ramped up. Patent and technology-transfer restrictions should be waived to enable this, he said adding, “Vaccine nationalism and export restrictions are deplorable; as is the use of the vaccine to advance national foreign policy objectives.”

He emphasized that the forum was an important opportunity to adopt decisions on ways to mobilize the money needed by developing countries to recover from the COVID-induced recession and restore them on the path to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.