“Equal access to COVID-19 vaccines is the clearest way out of this pandemic for all of us – children included, and commitments announced by G7 members … are an important step in that direction,” said the UN Children’s Fund Executive Director (UNICEF.). ) said Henrietta Fore in a statement.
Building on the momentum of the G20 Global Health Summit and the Gavi COVAX AMC Summit, global leaders have committed to a landmark agreement at the G7 Summit – underway in Cornwall, UK – by the end of 2021
General Secretary António Guterres had previously said that despite the “unequal and very unfair” access to vaccinations, “it is in everyone’s interest that everyone should be vaccinated sooner rather than later”.
The G7 leaders also reiterated their support for the United Nations-led initiative for the equitable distribution of vaccines, COVAX, calling it “the most important way of delivering vaccines to the poorest countries”.
Request for immediate action
The COVAX alliance, meanwhile, welcomed the G7’s commitment, including its continued support for substantial exports and for the promotion of voluntary licensing and nonprofit global production.
The partners look forward to “seeing cans flow into countries” as soon as possible.
COVAX will work with the G7 and other countries that have stepped up to distribute the doses as quickly and fairly as possible to address short-term supply bottlenecks currently affecting the global response to COVID-19 and the prospect of to minimize future fatal variants.
“We have reached a grim milestone in this pandemic: there are already more deaths from COVID-19 in 2021 than in the entire past year,” complained Ms. Fore. “Without urgent action, this devastation will continue”.
Given the need for a “ramp-up” in both the quantity and the speed of supply, the UNICEF top official affirmed that when it comes to ending the COVID-19 pandemic, “our best interests and our best natures.” to match. This crisis will not be over until it is over for everyone. ”
The Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, underlined that many countries are facing an increase in cases without vaccines.
“We’re in the race of our lives, but it’s not a fair race and most countries have barely left the starting line,” he said.
He was grateful for the generous announcements of vaccine donations, but emphasized that “we need more and we need them faster”.
Time of essence
With many high-income countries beginning to contemplate life after vaccination, the future looks rather bleak in low-income countries.
“We are particularly concerned about the surges in South America, Asia and Africa,” said the UNICEF chief.
In addition, the virus mutates during the pandemic, producing new variants that could potentially threaten vaccinated and unvaccinated people alike.
“Donating cans now is a wise policy that serves our common interests,” she continued, adding that alongside vaccine promises, “distribution and readiness require clear timetables,” especially in countries with poor health infrastructure.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has turned children’s lives upside down, affecting every aspect of their lives: their health, education, protection and future prosperity. What we do today will more than ever have a significant and lasting impact on our future together. There is no time to waste, ”she concluded.
The G7 consists of Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, Great Britain and the United States.
COVAX was launched by the WHO, the GAVI vaccine alliance and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). It is part of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator to provide COVID-19 diagnostics, treatments and vaccines to all people worldwide, regardless of their ability.