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International organizations, vaccine manufacturers agree to intensify vaccine delivery

Leaders of several international organizations including the International Monetary Fund, World Bank Group, the World Health Organization and the World Trade Organization met with the CEOs of leading vaccine manufacturing companies to discuss way to improve low- and lower-middle income countries’ access to the COVID-19 vaccines.

The Task Force expressed its concern that the world is unlikely to reach its target of having 40 percent of the population in all countries vaccinated by the end of 2021 without taking urgent steps. The 40 percent milestone is critical, officials said, to ending the pandemic and beginning global economic recovery.

Members of the Task Force said doses of the vaccine are not reaching low- and lower middle-income countries in sufficient amounts, despite adequate global vaccine production, and that the lack of access is resulting in a crisis of vaccine inequity. The Task Force countries with high amounts of vaccine doses, as well as vaccine manufacturers, want to join forces and find a way to urgently accelerate COVID-19 vaccine supplies to COVAX and AVAT — multilateral mechanisms crucial to distributing vaccines equitably.

CEOs seemed willing to work as a group with the Task Force, officials said, to end vaccine inequity, as well as to form a technical working group with the Task Force to exchange and coordinate information on vaccine production and delivery.

According to the Task Force, in order to reach the 40 percent vaccination target by the end of the year, governments and vaccine manufacturers would need to release doses to low- and lower middle-income countries; provide transparency in month-by-month delivery schedules for vaccine shipments, as well as put a moratorium on booster doses until the end of 2021, except for the immune-compromised; eliminate export restrictions and prohibitions, and create regulatory consistencies and standards on the approval of vaccines while boosting production of the vaccines, treatments and diagnostic tools to ensure equity in the distribution of life-saving tools.

Liz Carey

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