United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has again called for a “quantum leap in support” of a global vaccination plan to contain the coronavirus pandemic, as the UK, Canada, Germany and Sweden pledged nearly $ 1 billion in funding of developing countries in safe access to COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.
The Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator and its COVAX facility – led by the World Health Organization and the GAVI Vaccine Alliance – have received $ 3 billion but need another $ 35 billion, of which $ 15 billion by the end of the year . USD are required year.
The initiative aims to deliver two billion vaccine doses, 245 million treatments and 500 million tests by the end of 2021.
According to the United Nations, 168 countries have now joined COVAX.
“It is in each country’s national and economic self-interest to work together to massively expand access to testing and treatment and to support a vaccine as a global public good – a ‘popular vaccine’ that is available and affordable to everyone everywhere,” said Guterres said on Wednesday at a high-level UN virtual event on the program.
The UN chief said the ACT Accelerator is the only safe and secure way to quickly re-open the global economy, but warned that the program would need an immediate injection of $ 15 billion to “open the pre-purchase window and not to lose production. ”Alongside licensing, build stocks, promote research, and help countries prepare.
“We cannot allow any delay in access to further expand the already large inequalities,” said Guterres.
“But let’s be clear: we will not get there with donors who only allocate resources from the budget to official development aid,” he said. “It is time for countries to fund their own response and recovery programs.”
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO chief, said the funding gap was less than 1 percent of the world’s 20 largest economies (G20) committed to domestic stimulus packages and “roughly equivalent to the world’s spending on cigarettes every two weeks “.
The UK has pledged £ 500 million ($ 641 million) to give poorer countries access to a COVID-19 vaccine, while Canada has pledged £ 220 million ($ 166 million) and Germany € 100 million ($ 116 million) Million US dollars) for it.
Alex Gorsky, Chief Executive of Johnson & Johnson, has also pledged 500 million doses of vaccine for low-income countries. Delivery will start in mid-2021.
“Access to life-saving COVID diagnostics, therapeutics or vaccines shouldn’t depend on where you live, rich or poor,” said Gorsky, adding that Johnson & Johnson is doing “on an unprecedented scale and at an unprecedented rate we are not there for a minute for security reasons “.
US President Donald Trump said a vaccine against the virus could potentially be ready before the November 3 presidential election and raised questions about whether political pressure could lead to a vaccine being used before it is safe.
“We remain committed to 100 percent high ethical and scientific principles,” said Gorsky.
Seth Berkley, chief executive of GAVI, said 168 countries, including 76 self-funding states, have joined the COVAX global vaccine facility to date. “I urge those who are desperate to join us,” he said.
Tedros said that it represented 70 percent of the world’s population, adding, “The list is growing every day.”
China, Russia and the United States have not joined the facility despite WHO officials have said they are still in talks with China about filing. The US has its own contracts with vaccine developers.
The World Bank has now committed $ 12 billion to help developing countries buy COVID-19 vaccines as they become available. The plan has yet to be ratified by the shareholders of the global institute.
World Bank President David Malpass said the pandemic could drive 150 million people into extreme poverty by 2021 and the effects could last for decades.
“Wider, faster, and affordable access to COVID vaccines will be at the core of a resilient global economic recovery that lifts everyone,” he said.
Billionaire Bill Gates told the UN event that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation signed an agreement with 16 pharmaceutical companies on Wednesday.
“In this agreement, the companies commit, among other things, to grow production at an unprecedented rate and to ensure that approved vaccines are widely adopted as early as possible,” said Gates.
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab – a co-host of the meeting along with Guterres, WHO and South Africa – urged other countries to join the global effort, saying the ACT accelerator was the best hope of bringing the pandemic under control .
In a United Nations statement, ACT-Accelerator said – since it was launched five months ago – to make 120 million tests available to low- and middle-income countries and ensure the rapid roll-out of dexamethasone, the only drug that makes a significant difference to the Mortality in COVID-19 Patients.
“We must approach this health crisis as a global challenge, together in solidarity and cooperation, to work towards a global solution. We need to create the most important tests, treatments and vaccines we all need and ensure that they are distributed fairly to the people who need them most, regardless of where they live and whether or not their country is rich ”, South African Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said, adding that large sections of the population, particularly in developing countries, will remain “vulnerable and marginalized” during this pandemic.