Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard told reporters Tuesday that the Mexican delegation to the United Nations will file a complaint at the UN Security Council tomorrow concerning the “inequality” and “inequity” that he says impede vaccine access.
“The countries that produce [vaccines] have higher rates of vaccination and Latin America and the Caribbean have much less,” Ebrard said. “We’re going to raise it in the Security Council because it’s not fair,” he concluded.
With supplies scarce, the Mexican government’s concern over whether some countries are hoarding vaccines is shared by many worldwide.
Wealthier countries like the United States, Israel, China and the United Kingdom are at or near the top of the list in number of vaccines administered so far, while many poorer countries have yet to offer a single dose.
“Even as vaccines bring hope to some, they become another brick in the wall of inequality between the world’s haves and have-nots,” said World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in January.
“Even as they speak the language of equitable access, some countries and companies continue to prioritize bilateral deals…driving up prices and attempting to jump to the front of the queue. This is wrong,” he said.
WHO officials worry that kind of behavior could put their equitable distribution facility, called Covax, in jeopardy. Covax aims to distribute some 2 billion doses of the vaccine worldwide by the end of this year, many of which would go to poorer countries.
Mexico’s complaint at Wednesday’s UN Security Council meeting will focus on Latin America and the Caribbean, a poor part of the world particularly devastated by the pandemic.
Covax distribution has not yet begun, though it announced plans earlier this month to distribute more than 35 million doses of vaccine across the region by the end of the second quarter, with the potential for more should supplies become available.
But that’s a drop in the bucket of the 500 million people in the region the Pan American Health Organization says need to be immunized in order to control the pandemic.