Vaccine equity momentum continues

As The European Union pledged a further $1 billion to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) COVAX scheme, the WHO Director General praised the move towards vaccine equivalence.

As the world reached the halfway point in the World Health Organization and Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ 100-day challenge, the organisation said a movement of people and organisations is now uniting together under the banner of vaccine equity.

“The WHO welcomes the new commitments made by France, Germany, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and the United States of America to COVAX and equitable allocation of vaccines,” it said. “Backed by 190 countries and economies, COVAX is the global mechanism best positioned to deliver vaccines to the world and end the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“There is a growing movement behind vaccine equity and I welcome that world leaders are stepping up to the challenge by making new commitments to effectively end this pandemic by sharing doses and increasing funds to COVAX,” said Dr Ghebreyesus. “This can’t be business as usual and there is an urgent need for countries to share doses and technology, scale up manufacturing and ensure that there is a sustainable supply of vaccines so that everyone, everywhere can receive a vaccine.”

Close to 7000 people and hundreds of organizations have already signed on to a vaccine equity declaration that directly calls on governments and manufacturers to speed up regulatory processes, boost manufacturing by sharing know-how and technology, and ensure that doses are shared equitably. There is a specific call to start with all health and care workers, who have been on the frontlines of this pandemic for more than a year.

Heads of state and sports stars such as Romain Grosjean; international agencies including UNICEF, UN Development Programme, UN Women and the World Food Programme; sporting organizations including the International Olympic Committee, World Rugby and FIFA; networks focused on faith, gender and youth, and civil society groups like the Elders, Global Health Council, Nursing Now, Pandemic Action Network, UHC2030 and Women in Global Health have signed on to the broad based movement, which recognises the moral, economic and global security imperative of equitable vaccine distribution.

Dr Keith C Rowley, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, and Chairman of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) said, “Today, thankfully we are at that place where we now have tested and proven vaccines. A brightening light is shining on our way towards a more successful response to the still marauding virus.”