The main producers of vaccines against Covid-19, the G20 countries and the IMF pledged Friday to accelerate the vaccination of poor countries, very late, to put an end to the pandemic and revive the world economy. ‘a third of the inhabitants of the richest countries have already had at least a first dose, they are only 0.3% in poor countries, according to Covax, the global mechanism for providing vaccines to poor countries. at the end of May, 140 million doses will be missing from Covax and another 50 million in June compared to the volumes initially planned to vaccinate 20% of the population in poor countries.

Invited to a health summit co-organized by the Italian presidency of the G20 and the European Commission, the Pfizer / BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson laboratories have pledged to provide 3.5 billion doses to the poorest countries in 2021 and 2022. They are expected to provide 1.3 billion doses this year, the rest in 2022. The sera will be available at cost for low-income countries and at reduced prices for middle-income countries.

The EU has announced that it will provide 100 million doses this year, Italy 300 million euros and France 30 million doses via Covax.

“Everyone, everywhere” must have access to vaccines, underlined the president of the Commission of Brussels Ursula von der Leyen while the secretary general of the UN, Antonio Guterres, castigated “vaccine nationalism”.

The access of the most vulnerable countries to vaccines, international solidarity and the prevention of future pandemics are at the heart of this meeting of the Heads of State and Government of the G20, in which the European Commission, African States and from Asia as well as 12 international organizations and private foundations.

“$ 50 billion to vaccinate”

In order to put an end to the pandemic and its devastating economic and social consequences, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) at the same time presented to Washington a plan whose financing is estimated at 50 billion dollars with a vaccination target of at least 40 % of the world’s population by the end of the year. If the sum seems significant, it is very modest in view of the massive stimulus plans put in place by the rich countries – like the last of 1.900 billion dollars in the United States. It is also “small compared to the potential benefits of a faster end of the pandemic, estimated at around 9 trillion dollars” for the world economy by 2025, underline the economists of the International Monetary Fund.

The IMF recommends in particular to grant additional subsidies to Covax, to make donations of excess doses and to ensure free cross-border flows of raw materials and doses of vaccines. A Covax spokesperson told AFP on Friday that he had so far signed supply agreements for 1.8 billion doses, allowing 30% of the populations concerned to be vaccinated, but still lacking funding.

No consensus on the lifting of patents

The final declaration of the Rome summit, known as the “Rome Declaration”, should affirm the commitment of the richest countries to promoting the production of vaccines in Africa through the transfer of technology.

“We must vaccinate the world, and quickly,” warned Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.

The text should not however support the idea of a temporary suspension of the patents of pharmaceutical companies for vaccines, but plead in favor of “voluntary sharing of licenses” and the lifting of obstacles to exports.

The suspension of exclusive patent rights is encouraged by Washington, but the Twenty-Seven have already expressed their skepticism, pointing out the length and complexity of the process. Chinese President Xi Jinping reiterated his support for the temporary lifting of patents and announced $ 3 billion in aid over the next three years to support the fight against the pandemic and economic recovery.

The Rome summit is being held on the eve of the 74th World Health Assembly (May 24 to June 1), the main issue of which is the reform of the WHO and its ability to coordinate the response to global health crises and prevent future epidemics.

An independent panel report released last week ruled that the WHO had taken too long to sound the alarm and that the disaster described as “Chernobyl of the 21st century could have been avoided.”

The pandemic has killed more than 3.4 million people worldwide since its appearance at the end of December 2019, according to the latest report established by AFP from official sources.

Source: Angola Press News Agency