Coronavirus Pandemic

Covid-19: UN OKs vaccine honour system for leaders attending General Assembly

AP/United Nations
Filed on September 18, 2021
UN Secretary-General António Guterres and Volkan Bozkir, president of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly, applaud as Abdulla Shahid receives the gavel as the new president of the 76th session of the UNGA. — AP

Dignitaries attending next week's meeting won’t have to show vaccination cards or other proof of inoculation

The UN General Assembly is relying on a vaccine honour system for world leaders before they speak at next week’s meeting.

Presidents, premiers and other dignitaries won’t have to show vaccination cards or other proof of inoculation. Assembly President Abdulla Shahid said they’ll simply attest to being vaccinated by swiping their ID badges.

The UN has been wrestling with how to implement a New York City vaccination requirement for convention centres. Russia has criticised the policy, and the first scheduled speaker, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, says he doesn’t plan to get vaccinated anytime soon. He contracted the coronavirus in July 2020.

Shahid told members earlier this week he supported the New York City policy but didn’t give details on how it would work. Shahid, a 59-year-old Maldivian, was elected president of the UN General Assembly in June.

Next week, more than 100 heads of state and government and over 20 foreign ministers have signed up to speak in person. Other nations are participating by video for the speeches, where leaders discuss global issues, spotlight domestic ones and use the world stage to court allies or assail foes. The coronavirus pandemic forced the assembly’s top-level annual meeting to go mostly virtual last year.

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