G20 pledges to vaccinate 70% of global population by mid-2022

By Amirtha P S, Desk Reporter
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The world’s 20 biggest economies’ (G20) finance and health ministers last day pledged to take steps to ensure 70 percent of the global population is vaccinated against COVID-19 by mid-2022 and created a task force to fight future pandemics.

The ministers could not reach an agreement on a separate financing facility proposed by the US and Indonesia, but said the task force would explore options for mobilizing funds to boost 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 statement.

The G20 Joint Finance-Health Task Force aims 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 the Ministries, promoting collective action, assessing and addressing health emergencies with cross-border impact and encouraging effective stewardship of resources.

The ministers stated that they were setting up the new body because the COVID-19 pandemic had created significant shortcomings in the world’s ability to coordinate its response. The group has pledged to support “all collaborative efforts” to offer access to safe, affordable, quality and effective vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, and personal protective equipment, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.

G20 will work to boost the supply of vaccines and essential medical products and inputs in developing countries while removing constraints on supply and financing but gave no specific details.

The ministers also called for boosting the resilience of supply chains through voluntary technology transfer hubs, such as newly established mRNA Hubs in South Africa, Argentina and Brazil, and through joint production and processing agreements.

The call for a voluntary mRNA technology transfer means that talks on the idea of a temporary waiver of intellectual property rights on COVID-19 vaccines and therapies, originally proposed by South Africa and India and now championed by the US, remain stuck at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

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