• Tuesday, Jan 18, 2022
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'Vaccine inequity' concerns IMF, WB, WHO, WTO

  • Published at 09:50 pm August 30th, 2021
File photo: A woman holds a small bottle labelled with a "Coronavirus Covid-19 Vaccine"sticker and a medical syringe in this illustration taken October 30, 2020 Reuters

The crisis of vaccine inequity is leading to a dangerous divergence in Covid-19 survival rates and the global economy

The heads of the International Monetary Fund, World Bank Group, World Health Organization, and World Trade Organization recently met with the leaders of the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT), Africa CDC, Gavi, and Unicef at the third meeting of the Multilateral Leaders Taskforce on Covid-19 to rapidly scale-up vaccines in low and lower-middle income countries.

"The global rollout of Covid-19 vaccines is progressing at two alarmingly different speeds. Less than 2% of adults are fully vaccinated in most low-income countries compared to almost 50% in high-income countries," they said in a statement following the meeting.

"These countries, the majority of which are in Africa, simply cannot access sufficient vaccines to meet even the global goals of 10% coverage in all countries by September and 40% by end 2021, let alone the African Union's goal of 70% in 2022."

Also Read - Global Covid-19 cases surpass 200 million as Delta variant spreads

"This crisis of vaccine inequity is driving a dangerous divergence in Covid-19 survival rates and the global economy. We appreciate the important work of AVAT and Covax to try and address this unacceptable situation," the statement read.

"However, effectively tackling this acute vaccine supply shortage in low and lower-middle income countries, and fully enabling AVAT and Covax, requires the urgent cooperation of vaccine manufacturers, vaccine-producing countries, and countries that have already achieved high vaccination rates. To ensure all countries achieve the global goals of at least 10% coverage by September and 40% by the end of 2021, we call on countries that have contracted high volumes of vaccines to swap near-term delivery schedules with Covax and AVAT, " it added.

Also, the meeting called on vaccine manufacturers to immediately prioritize and fulfill their contracts with Covax and AVAT, and to provide regular, clear supply forecasts.

Also Read - Bangladesh government inks 10.5C Covid vaccine deal with WHO

It urged G7 and all dose-sharing countries to fulfill their pledges urgently, with enhanced pipeline visibility, product shelf life, and support for ancillary supplies, as barely 10% of nearly 900 million committed doses have so far been shipped.

"We are in parallel with intensifying our work with Covax and AVAT to tackle persistent vaccine delivery, manufacturing, and trade issues, notably in Africa, and mobilize grants and concessional financing for these purposes. We will also explore financing mechanisms to cover future vaccine needs as requested by AVAT. We will advocate for better supply forecasts and investments to increase country preparedness and absorptive capacity," the statement said.

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