World waking up to vaccine equity

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Updated: March 5, 2021

At the halfway point in the World Health Organization and Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ 100-day challenge, a movement of people and organizations is now uniting together under the banner of vaccine equity. 

WHO said it welcomes the new commitments made by France, Germany, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America to COVAX and equitable allocation of vaccines.

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Backed by 190 countries and economies, COVAX is the global mechanism best positioned to deliver vaccines to the world and end the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There is a growing movement behind vaccine equity and I welcome that world leaders are stepping up to the challenge by making new commitments to effectively end this pandemic by sharing doses and increasing funds to COVAX,” said Dr Tedros, Director-General of the World Health Organization. “This can’t be business as usual and there is an urgent need for countries to share doses and technology, scale up manufacturing and ensure that there is a sustainable supply of vaccines so that everyone, everywhere can receive a vaccine.”

Close to 7000 people and hundreds of organizations have already signed on to a vaccine equity declaration that directly calls on governments and manufacturers to speed up regulatory processes, boost manufacturing by sharing know-how and technology, and ensure that doses are shared equitably. There is a specific call to start with all health and care workers, who have been on the frontlines of this pandemic for more than a year. 

Heads of state and sports stars like Romain Grosjean; international agencies including UNICEF, UN Development Programme, UN Women and the World Food Programme; sporting organizations like the International Olympic Committee, World Rugby and FIFA; networks focused on faith, gender and youth, and civil society groups like the Elders, Global Health Council, Nursing Now, Pandemic Action Network, UHC2030 and Women in Global Health,*– these and many more have signed on to the broad based movement, which recognizes the moral, economic and global security imperative of equitable vaccine distribution.

Dr Keith C Rowley, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, and Chairman of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) said, “Today, thankfully we are at that place where we now have tested and proven vaccines. A brightening light is shining on our way towards a more successful response to the still marauding virus.”

The movement for vaccine equity is growing, and to prevent virus variants from undermining our health technologies and hampering an already sluggish global economic recovery, it is critical that leaders continue to step up to ensure that we end this pandemic as quickly as possible. Individuals and organizations everywhere are encouraged to join in this crucial effort.

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