COVID-19 vaccines should be free for poor countries: HPM Sheikh Hasina


Published on November 7, 2020
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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called on the rich countries and international development banks and institutions to help the least developed and developing countries secure free COVID-19 vaccines.

She made the appeal during her virtual address to the 14th ASEM Finance Ministers’ Meeting on Friday.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a multifaceted global problem and it should be addressed globally, the prime minister said. “We need a well-coordinated roadmap to face this crisis,” she said.

The G-7, G-20, OECD countries, multilateral development banks, and international financial institutions will have to play a “vital” role to bail out the LDCs and developing nations affected by the pandemic by increasing fiscal stimulus, concessional finance, and debt relief measures, Hasina said.

“The advanced economies also must meet their unmet promises concerning duty-free and quota-free market access, and technology support for developing countries,” she said.

The world is hoping to get effective vaccines against COVID-19 “soon” and these vaccines “must be made available for all countries, especially the LDCs and developing ones, at free of cost”, Hasina said.

“The rich countries and, the MDBs and IFIs should come forward with generous support in this regard,” she added.

The prime minister also pointed out that the world economy is hit hard by the pandemic crisis with a vast majority of the people suffering from the loss of income and employment.

Progress in achieving SDGs and hard-earned prosperity of most countries is at stake while poverty situation is worsening and the health sector is facing serious challenges, she said.

The prime minister also described the steps taken by her government, 21 stimulus packages equivalent to $14.14 billion, for various sectors of the economy as well as different segments of the society. This support package is equivalent to 4.3 percent of the country’s GDP, she noted.