Malaysia urges accessible, affordable COVID-19 vaccine
Vaccine must promote global collaboration not nationalistic competition, Malaysia top diplomat tells UN General Assembly
Malaysia's foreign minister Friday said the world needs a coronavirus vaccine that is "accessible, equitable and affordable."
In a video message sent to a special session of the UN General Assembly in response to COVID-19, Hishammuddin Hussein said national measures must be supported by a concerted global effort.
"Our stand on this is clear -- whoever finds it must share it. Not only is it a global responsibility, it is also a moral responsibility," said Hishammuddin.
He stressed that interdependency and solidarity must be the order of the day in the name of joint destiny, shared humanity, and the value of common hope.
"Malaysia cannot stress this enough -- a vaccine, once developed, must promote international collaboration rather than nationalistic competition," he said.
Despite some positive developments, Hishammuddin said there is a lot of misinformation about forced vaccinations, altered DNA, and fake accounts spread around the world.
He warned that global fears have been intensified by round-the-clock news and unending streams of information, both accurate and false, on social media.
"Anti-vaccination propaganda is not new, and is merely symptomatic of a larger issue at hand, which is the erosion of trust in authorities and experts, and science denialism," he said.
Hishammuddin also emphasized that public awareness of the need to vaccinate is crucial to prevent a climate of fear and division during the rollout phase.
"Negativity, as an outcome of the propaganda, must be addressed head-on. It would be a tragedy if in our eagerness, dangerous supporters who campaign against the whole concept of vaccination be left to flourish -- risking damaging influence on the masses, and threatening millions more lives," he added.
Malaysia's COVID-19 case count currently stands at 69,095, including 376 deaths, according to the Health Ministry.
*Writing by Rhany Chairunissa Rufinaldo with Anadolu Agency's Indonesian-language service in Jakarta