World leaders urged to make COVID vaccine available to millions of refugees

The impact of the contagion has sharply intensified across the Middle East in recent weeks, matching soaring global numbers. However, it has been further amplified by drastically underresourced medical responses that cannot cope with the numbers of dying or seriously ill.

In northern Syria and Iraq, where millions of people remain displaced or in internment camps, images of vaccines being administered in the US and UK have heightened fears that the collective efforts of global scientists will be focused on developed societies.

The UN secretary general, António Guterres, has pleaded for the vaccines being rolled out across the globe to be made available to “all people” and that their distribution must be viewed as a “global public good”.

His comments followed mounting concerns that a scheme to deliver Covid vaccines to poorer countries faces a high risk of failure and could leave at least half the planet without vaccinations for at least the next three years.

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