Representatives from the World Bank Group, the International Monetary Fund, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Trade Organization (WTO) met with representatives from leading COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers to discuss improving supplies to low-and middle-income countries, including Africa.
The Multilateral Leaders Task Force on COVID-19 Vaccines convened a conference; and in a statement released by the IMF, expressed concern that absent immediate action, the globe will fall short of its goal of vaccinating at least 40% of the global population by the end of the year.
The target is a vital step in ending the pandemic and resuming full economic recovery.
Members of the panel underlined that despite adequate overall global vaccine supply, sufficient doses were not reaching the impacted nations, resulting in a vaccine inequity crisis, according to the statement.
Both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have previously expressed concern about the emergence of a two-track economic recovery due to unequal vaccine distribution and cautioned that developing countries would require assistance to address the problem.
The Task Force encouraged countries that have contracted high amounts of vaccine doses, and vaccine manufacturers, to come together in good faith to urgently accelerate COVID-19 vaccine supplies to COVAX and AVAT, two multilateral mechanisms that are crucial for equitable distribution of vaccines.
“Task Force members welcomed the willingness of the CEOs (of vaccine manufacturing companies) to work collectively with them to end vaccine inequity and their readiness to form a technical working group with the Task Force to exchange and coordinate information on vaccine production and deliveries,” the latest statement by IMF said.
According to the meeting’s statement, countries with strong vaccination rates have jointly pre-purchased approximately two billion doses more than what is needed to completely vaccinate their populations. Such countries were urged to swap their COVAX and AVAT near-term delivery timetables, complete their dosage donation obligations with unspecified upfront deliveries to COVAX, and free vaccine companies from contracts so that doses may be given to countries with poor immunization histories.
The summit also urged all nations to resolve COVID-19 vaccine export limitations, exorbitant tariffs, and customs bottlenecks, as well as the raw materials and supplies needed for vaccine manufacture and timely delivery.