“This is not numbers on a page. They are mothers and fathers. Brothers and sisters,” Guterres said in a statement, in which he stressed that while rich countries are already administering a third dose of vaccine against the disease, “only about 5 percent of the population in Africa is fully vaccinated”.

"This is a global shame," Guterres said, adding that the fact that the pandemic has already claimed five million deaths is also a "clear warning" that it is not possible to "let down one's guard."

The head of the United Nations also indicated that there are several factors that could contribute to the coronavirus continuing to spread, including misinformation, the concentration of vaccines and the lack of global solidarity.

“We have to inject vaccines into the arms of 40 percent of people in all countries by the end of the year, and 70 percent by mid-2022,” said Guterres, urging world leaders to support the Global Vaccination Strategy launched by WHO last month.

“The best way to honour these five million people we've lost, and to support health workers who struggle with this virus every day, is to make vaccine equity a reality by accelerating our efforts and ensuring maximum vigilance to win against this virus,” the UN secretary general said.

In Portugal, since March 2020, 18,167 people have died and 1,091,142 cases of infection have been recorded, according to data from the Directorate-General for Health.