The unanimous call came as part of a resolution passed during the 2021 General Assembly of Humanists International.
The resolution, on “Global Access to Vaccines in Response to COVID-19,” comes in the context of a world which is increasingly divided in terms of those who have had access to a COVID-19 vaccine and those who have not. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the vast majority of vaccines against COVID-19 have been administered in high- and upper-middle-income countries, mostly in 10 countries alone. The WHO has observed that if these doses had been distributed equitably, there would have been enough to cover all health workers and older people globally.
The resolution arises out of a long tradition of humanists advocating for the application of scientific method and free inquiry to the problems of human welfare, whilst also affirming that any application of science and technology must be tempered by human values.
It also recalls that under international law, every person has a right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health – which includes access to immunization programmes against major infectious diseases – and a right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress.
Amongst its many recommendations, the resolution calls on the international community, States and other relevant stakeholders to:
The resolution follows Humanists International’s call at the UN for vaccine equitability, delivered by Dr. Sangram Patil earlier this year, as well as its previous calls to reject vaccine nationalism and to promote the ethics of equitable vaccine distribution.