The Task Force on COVID-19 Vaccines, Therapeutics, and Diagnostics for Developing Countries has announced the launch of a new website that includes the first phase of a global database and country dashboards on vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics to guide their work and advocacy.
The task force was established by the heads of four international institutions, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank Group (WBG), World Health Organisation (WHO), and the World Trade Organisation (WTO), to figure out and resolve finance and trade impediments to vaccine, diagnostics, therapeutic production, and deliveries.
“We reiterate the urgency of providing access to COVID-19 vaccines, tests, and treatments to people throughout the developing world. In the area of vaccines, a key constraint is the acute and alarming shortage in the supply of doses to low and low-middle income countries, especially for the rest of 2021. We call on countries with advanced COVID-19 vaccination programmes to release as soon as possible as much of their contracted vaccine doses and options as possible to COVAX, AVAT, and low and low-middle income countries,” the heads of the international institutions said in a joint statement.
They indicated that they are concerned that vaccine delivery schedules and contracts for COVAX, AVAT, and low and low-middle income countries are delayed or too slow, adding that less than 5 percent of vaccine doses that were pre-purchased by or for low-income countries have been delivered.
They assured that their common target is for at least 40 percent of people in low and low-middle income countries to be vaccinated by the end of 2021, estimating that less than 20 percent of the needed vaccines is currently scheduled for delivery to these countries, whether through COVAX, AVAT, or bilateral deals and dose-sharing agreements.
In this respect, the leaders urged COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers to accelerate their efforts to scale up production of vaccines, specifically for these countries, and to ensure that the supply of doses to COVAX, as well as low and low-middle income countries, takes precedence over the promotion of boosters.
“We call on governments to reduce or eliminate barriers to the export of vaccines and all materials involved in their production and deployment. We underscore the urgent need for all parties to address supply chain and trade bottlenecks for vaccines, testing, and therapeutics, as well as all of the materials involved in their production and deployment,” the leaders added.
According to the IMF staff’s $50 billion proposal to end the pandemic, as well as the priorities set out by the WHO, WTO, IMF, and the WBG, over $35 billion in grants are needed with only one third of this financed to date, according to the statement.
They welcomed the latest announcement made by COVAX and the World Bank to accelerate vaccine supplies for developing countries through a new financing mechanism and welcomed the partnership between the World Bank and AVAT in this regard.