The G20 Must Recommit to COVAX

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The G20 Must Recommit to COVAX
Project Syndicate, Sep 3, 2021 Seth Berkley, CEO Gavi Alliance
Additional G20 support can make the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access facility a success. Failure to achieve equitable access would mean more lives lost, broken health-care systems, even deadlier and more transmissible variants, and a pandemic with no end in sight…
…By recommitting to COVAX, G20 leaders will recommit to a multilateral solution that builds on the astounding scientific progress of the past year. Based on COVAX’s latest forthcoming supply forecast, when topped up with doses through bilateral deals, equitable COVID-19 vaccine access can protect up to 60% of the adult population in 91 lower-income countries. This would represent a huge step toward the WHO target of 70%, which is needed to suppress the coronavirus everywhere, and COVAX represents the best opportunity to achieve it.
Failure would mean more lives lost, broken health-care systems, even deadlier and more transmissible variants, and a pandemic with no end in sight. The G20 must not allow that to be an option.



Editor’s Note:
We highlight selected text from the G20 Health Minister’s Final Declaration as below. The G20 meeting involving heads of state and government will be convened in Rome on October 30-31, 2021 and will address COVID response.

G20 Health Ministers’ Meeting – Rome 5-6 Sep 2021
During the two days of work, participants focused on multiple issues related to health. In particular, three sessions were dedicated to the impact of Covid-19 on the sustainable development goals (SDG) of the 2030 Agenda, to what should be done in order to prevent, be better prepared and respond to future pandemics and the tools which allow to effectively counter the pandemic…

Final Declaration [5,945 words]:
[Selected excerpts; Editors text bolding]

7. As our Leaders committed to in Riyadh, and reinforced at the Global Health Summit in Rome, we will work towards enhancing timely, equitable and global access to safe, affordable and effective COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics (VTDs). In line with the WHO, we support the goal to vaccinate at least 40% by the end of 2021 of the global populationWe need to also share more doses to meet the immediate need for safe, effective and quality and affordable vaccines building upon the commitments made at the COVAX AMC Summit…

17. We commit to improving rapid and transparent research, data, information and material access and sharing, in line with applicable laws and regulations at the national and international levels, necessary to prevent, detect, and respond to future potential health emergencies, and collectively resolve to strengthen research initiatives to better understand the links between human, animal (both domestic and wild) and environmental health, to enhance decision making based on solid scientific evidence…

…28. We encourage a collaborative effort to develop common global strategies to support research, development, and equitable distribution of vaccines, therapeutics – including, but not limited to, medical oxygen – and diagnostics, taking into consideration the ongoing WHO Member State process to examine strengthening health emergencies preparedness and response…High quality, adequately sized clinical trials are the primary way to generate actionable evidence, informing which vaccines and therapeutics are safe and effective. We will support science to shorten the cycle for the development of safe and effective vaccines, treatments and tests from 300 to 100 days

30. …We reaffirm our Leaders’ support at the Global Health Summit for the global sharing of safe, effective, quality and affordable vaccine doses including working with the ACT-A vaccines pillar (COVAX) co-lead by CEPI, Gavi and WHO… We welcome the outcomes of the COVAX Advanced Market Commitment (AMC) Summit co-hosted by Japan and Gavi, which include mobilizing and exceeding the targeted resources to ensure the 1.8 billion doses needed to cover nearly 30% of the population of AMC eligible economies, and dose-sharing commitments, and urge additional support for vaccine production, necessary supplies, other delivery and distribution needs, and vaccination support. We support the establishment of the COVAX Humanitarian Buffer and the commitment by Gavi/COVAX to allocate up to 5% of the doses for this purpose. We recognize the need to complement vaccine supply with financing for vaccine absorption and delivery, and surge capacity of resources to deploy these vaccines…