World Bodies Express Concern Over COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution To Developing Countries

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Damilola Johnson

The World Bank Group, IMF, WHO, and WTO are deeply concerned about the limited COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics,diagnostics and support for deliveries available to developing countries.

The bodies in a joint statement issued  through its  Task Force on COVID-19 Vaccines, Therapeutics and Diagnostics for Developing Countries at its first meeting in Washington.

The task force is headed by David Malpass of the World Bank, Kristalina Georgieva of the International Monetary Fund, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus of World Health Organisation and Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

According to the statement, there is an urgent need to increase supplies of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics for developing countries.

It said that they also discussed practical and effective ways to track, coordinate and advance delivery of vaccines to developing countries.

The task force said that as many countries were struggling with new variants and a third wave of COVID-19 infections, accelerating access to vaccines become even more critical to ending the pandemic everywhere and achieving broad-based growth.

“We have formed a task force, as a “war room” to help track, coordinate and advance delivery of COVID-19 health tools to developing countries and to mobilise relevant stakeholders and national leaders to remove critical roadblocks.

“This is in support of the priorities set out by WBG, IMF, WHO and WTO including in the joint statements of June 1 and June 3, and in the IMF staff’s 50 billion dollars proposal.

“Urgent action is needed now to arrest the rising human toll due to the pandemic, and to halt further divergence in the economic recovery between advanced economies and the rest.”

The task force said that as an urgent first step, it was calling on G20 countries to embrace the target of at least 40 per cent in every country by the end of 2021 and at least 60 per cent by the first half of 2022.

It also said that more vaccine doses should be shared including by ensuring at least one billion doses were It also said that more vaccine doses should be shared including by ensuring at least one billion doses were shared with developing countries in 2021 starting immediately.

It added that financing should be provided, including grants and concessional financing, to close the residual gaps, including for the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator.

Also, that all barriers to export of inputs and finished vaccines, and other barriers to supply chain operations be removed.

“In addition, to enhance transparency, we agreed to compile data on dose requests (by type and quantity), contracts, deliveries (including through donations), and deployments of COVID-19 vaccines to low and middle-income countries and make it available as part of a shared country-level dashboard.

“We also agreed to take steps to address hesitancy and to coordinate efforts to address gaps in readiness, so countries are positioned to receive, deploy and administer vaccines.”

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