NEW YORK: United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres received his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in New York on Thursday.
Guterres received a vaccine shot at Adlai E Stevenson High School in The Bronx, a few miles uptown from UN Headquarters in New York, according to a release published on the UN official website.
Taking to Twitter, the UN chief said that he was fortunate and grateful to receive the shot, and urged the international community to ensure that vaccines become available to everyone on an equitable basis.
“With this pandemic, none of us are safe until all of us are safe,” he wrote.
I was fortunate and grateful to get the first dose of my #COVID19 vaccine today.
We must get to work to make sure the vaccine is available to everyone, everywhere.
With this pandemic, none of us are safe until all of us are safe.
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) January 28, 2021
The 71-year-old UN secretary-general was eligible to receive the vaccine on the basis of his age as New York residents over the age of 65 are included in the current phase of vaccinations in the city, which also includes school workers, first responders, public transit workers and grocery workers, according to the release.
In December, Guterres declared that he would happily receive a vaccine in public, adding that vaccination is a moral obligation for him.
“Each one of us provides a service to the whole community”, he said, “because there is no longer a risk of spreading the disease.”
Media persons were invited to observe the UN chief receiving his shot at a time when many countries are seeing a significant proportion of their citizens expressing “vaccine hesitancy”, read the release.
UN regional offices have noted a significant level of mistrust, said the report, adding that in some countries, around half the population are reportedly unsure about getting a COVID-19 vaccine at this stage.
The release quoted Penny Abeywardena, New York City’s commissioner for international affairs, as saying she was heartened that Guterres secured his appointment online, and received the vaccine in a public school, in the same manner as many other city residents.
“This will go a long way in building trust in our communities that the vaccine is safe for all,” she said. (ANI)