2021 begins with immunization against coronavirus

Most citizens in countries around the world are not hesitating when it comes to coronavirus vaccinations

UNICEF Montenegro
visual vaccination
UNICEF Montenegro
01 January 2021

PODGORICA, 1 JANUARY 2021 – The year 2021 will be marked by immunization against coronavirus, which has already begun around the world. According to global research, most citizens in countries around the world are not hesitating when it comes to coronavirus vaccinations. According to an Ipsos Global Survey from October last year, almost 9 out of 10 citizens of China and India said they would get vaccinated against coronavirus, and 8 out of 10 citizens of Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, South Korea, Mexico and Brazil would do the same; this also goes for 7 out of 10 citizens of Germany, Japan, Italy and South Africa; 6 out of 10 citizens of Spain and the USA and 5 out of 10 citizens of France.[1]

A recent survey conducted by Ipsos in Montenegro, in December 2020, showed that almost 5 out of 10 citizens would get vaccinated against coronavirus.[2] The same research indicates that citizens who are not suspicious of vaccines generally have a higher level of education and are more informed and more concerned about the coronavirus pandemic.

Given the contagiousness of COVID-19, epidemiologists estimate that about 50–80% of the population must be immune in order to reach the level of collective immunity. In order for that to happen, any vaccine must be made available for all countries at the same time. Protecting high-income countries alone will not allow life to return to normal. The whole world will remain vulnerable to the virus until countries with the weakest health systems are protected from it. The COVAX global initiative for vaccines is a mechanism that is available to every country, through which they can equitably access COVID-19 vaccines as quickly as possible. UNICEF is leading efforts to procure and supply COVID-19 vaccines for 171 countries on behalf of the COVAX Facility in what is likely be the world’s largest and fastest ever procurement and supply of vaccines.

In order to stop the global pandemic and achieve collective immunity, it is necessary to continuously provide reliable information on vaccines to all citizens and thus reduce the impact of the numerous conspiracy theories and misinformation on this topic and increase the number of citizens who want to be vaccinated. The World Health Organization has declared indecision regarding vaccination – hesitation or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines – as one of the 10 biggest threats to public health.

Vaccines are among the greatest advances of modern medicine. Since the late 18th century, they have reduced the scourge of numerous infectious diseases and saved millions of lives.  Smallpox, which killed 300 million people in the 20th century alone3, was successfully eradicated in 1979 thanks to the roll-out of a safe and effective vaccine. Thanks to vaccines, polio, a dangerous disease which has killed millions and left millions more paralysed or disabled, remains endemic in only two countries – Pakistan and Afghanistan. Thanks to vaccines, maternal and neonatal tetanus, which is fatal in newborns, has been eliminated in all but 12 countries as of July 2019.             

Bearing in mind that 2020, in addition to the global coronavirus pandemic, was marked by a flood of conspiracy theories and misinformation about coronavirus and vaccines, which has resulted in the spread of fear, UNICEF National Goodwill Ambassador to Montenegro Antonije Pušić made a song with his friends and fellow musicians, which in a humorous way talks about this topic and the ambivalent attitude towards preventive measures, as well as the vaccination that has just started to be implemented around the planet.

Rambo Amadeus, UNICEF National Goodwill Ambassador to Montenegro
UNICEF Crna Gora / Duško Miljanić / 2013
Antonije Pušić, UNICEF National Goodwill Ambassador to Montenegro

I remember, as if it were yesterday, when a smallpox epidemic broke out in 1972. I was 9 years old; then children also had to be vaccinated and I don't remember anyone questioning that. Science was unreservedly trusted. Medicine is a science, and a vaccine is a fruit of that science, just like disinfection, penicillin, aspirin, the wheel, satellites, the electric motor or solar panels. I understand that some people feel uneasy about getting vaccinated, but we should still keep in mind that we live in the 21st century, when, thanks to medical science, almost all known infectious diseases have been eradicated.

Antonije Pušić, UNICEF National Goodwill Ambassador to Montenegro

Pušić’s song Corona Party features internationally famous musiciansCharlie Cinelli from Italy and David Bižić, a world-famous baritone opera singer.

The vaccine will return everything to normal. The vaccine is the only solution to allow people again to gather together, have fun, enjoy company, dance and go to live concerts. All that is returning.

Charlie Cinelli, internationally famous musician from Italy
Charlie Cinelli, internationally famous musician from Italy
UNICEF Crna Gora
Charlie Cinelli, internationally famous musician from Italy

The same hopes are shared by David Bižić, a renowned baritone opera singer who has performed in the world’s largest opera houses in New York, London, Vienna, Paris, Moscow, Berlin, Monte Carlo, Madrid, Geneva, etc.

David Bižić, a renowned baritone opera singer
UNICEF Montenegro
David Bižić, a renowned baritone opera singer

The first wave of the pandemic stopped me half-way between France, where I live, and New York, where I often sing at the Metropolitan Opera. I adhere to all the measures to protect myself and others, but I also work every day to preserve my mind by trying to look at the situation from the point of view of an observer: I am patient, I see the light at the end of the tunnel. I still practice singing every day and I am waiting for the vaccination to start so that I can perform in front of a full Metropolitan again.

David Bižić, a renowned baritone opera singer

The song Corona Party was made with the support of the British Embassy in Podgorica and UNICEF. As of today, it is available in audio format, and a video is being made for it and will be presented in early February.