More support needed for countries that are not producing vaccines, says Hasina

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called for the COVID-19 vaccine to be declared a public good worldwide and urged those countries producing vaccines to lend greater support to those that do not.

“We strongly believe that COVID-19 vaccines should be declared as global public goods,” Hasina said at the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference on Tuesday. “Countries producing the vaccines should help others produce the vaccines with a view to attaining universal vaccine coverage.”

All nations and international organisations must work together to meet the medical requirements of this pandemic, she said.

“WHO, GAVI and other relevant organisations must uphold the rights of member states and ensure equity and justice.”

The prime minister called the COVID-19 pandemic possibly the “greatest global challenge” and said it had brought the world to a crossroad of human history.

“The socio-economic impacts of the pandemic are massive and are still unfolding,” Hasina said. “It is, therefore, extremely important to strengthen the global and regional partnerships through coordinated efforts to address these challenges.”

Bangladesh had been trying to mitigate the pandemic’s impact through measures that sought to balance ‘life and livelihood’, she said. In particular, she noted, the $14.6 billion in stimulus packages aimed at social protection and boosting the economy.

Hasina also stressed the importance of financial and technical support to developing countries and called for them to receive greater access to funds from international financial institutions and development banks.

The prime minister also reiterated the importance of international cooperation, the need to harness technology and connectivity, both physical and digital.

“Under the current state of globalisation, every country has to do its part for common good,” she said.

“The nations and economies will have to look out for each other, as no single country in this world can sustain on its own. Let’s think together, work together and grow together.”