Finance and health ministers from the world’s 20 largest economies (G20) said on Friday that they will make efforts to guarantee that 70% of the world’s population is vaccinated against Covid-19 by the middle of 2022 and that a task force would be formed to combat future pandemics.
They were unable to achieve an agreement on a separate finance facility offered by the US and Indonesia but said the task force will look at other ways to raise cash to help with pandemic preparedness, prevention, and response.
“To help advance toward the global goals of vaccinating at least 40 percent of the population in all countries by the end of 2021 and 70 percent by mid-2022 … we will take steps to help boost the supply of vaccines and essential medical products and inputs in developing countries and remove relevant supply and financing constraints,” the G20 ministers said in a communique.
The goal set by the G20 previously was to vaccinate 70 per cent of the global population by the autumn of 2022.
“We establish a G20 Joint Finance-Health Task Force aimed at enhancing dialogue and global cooperation on issues relating to pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, promoting the exchange of experiences and best practices, developing coordination arrangements between Finance and Health Ministries, promoting collective action, assessing and addressing health emergencies with cross-border impact and encouraging effective stewardship of resources,” the statement said.
The ministers said they were forming the new organization because the Covid-19 pandemic had shown “serious flaws” in the global response coordination.
They promised to support “all collaborative efforts” to ensure that low- and middle-income nations have access to safe, cheap, high-quality, and effective vaccines, treatments, diagnostics, and personal protective equipment.
They stated that they will seek to increase the provision of vaccinations and other vital medical goods and inputs in poor countries while reducing supply and funding obstacles, but provided no specifics.
They also advocated for improving supply chain resilience by establishing voluntary technology transfer centers in diverse areas, such as the recently created mRNA Hubs in South Africa, Brazil, and Argentina, as well as collaborative manufacturing and processing agreements.
The proposal for a voluntary mRNA technology transfer implies that negotiations at the World Trade Organisation on the notion of a temporary waiver of intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics, which was first offered by South Africa and India and is now championed by the US, have stalled.
Patents were not mentioned during the G20, according to German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz.
“We have a lot of vaccines available worldwide but the reality is there are still areas in the world where the share of those vaccinated is very low,” Scholz told journalists on the sidelines of the summit.
(Adapted from MobeyControl.com)