Medical officer Dr. Emmanuel Addipa-Adapoe, 42, receives the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine during the vaccination campaign at the Ridge Hospital in Accra, Ghana March 2, 2021. REUTERS
The Heads of the World Bank Group (WBG), International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Health Organisation (WHO), and World Trade Organisation (WTO) called for urgent action to arrest the rising human death toll due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as halting further divergence in the economic recovery between advanced economies and the rest of the world.
The call was made through a joint statement released by the four institutions following their first meeting of the Task Force on COVID-19 Vaccines, Therapeutics, and Diagnostics for Developing Countries.
The four institutions called on G20 countries to embrace the target of at least 40 percent in every country by the end of 2021, and at least 60 percent by the first half of 2022, and to share more vaccine doses now, including by ensuring at least 1 billion doses are shared with developing countries in 2021 starting immediately.
They also urged them to provide financing, including grants and concessional financing, to close the residual gaps and to remove all barriers to export of inputs and finished vaccines, and other barriers to supply chain operations.
“As many countries are struggling with new variants and a third wave of COVID-19 infections, accelerating access to vaccines becomes even more critical to ending the pandemic everywhere and achieving broad-based growth. We are deeply concerned about the limited vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, and support for deliveries available to developing countries,” they said in the statement.
They explained that they have formed the 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 with the aim to support the priorities set out by the four institutions included in the joint statements of 1 June and 3 June and in the IMF staff’s $50 billion proposal.
During the meeting, the four bodies discussed the urgency of increasing the supply of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics for developing countries and exploring practical and effective ways to track, coordinate, and advance the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to developing countries.
“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,” according to the joint statement.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced recently that the UK will donate more than 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to poorer countries by 2022, following US President Joe Biden's announcement ahead of the G7 summit that the US will donate 500 million doses.