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Taskforce launches database to enhance COVID-19 tools

The global Task Force on COVID-19 Vaccines, Therapeutics and Diagnostics for Developing Countries, has launched a new website that includes the first phase of a global database and country dashboards on vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics to guide their work and advocacy.  

The Taskforce was established by the heads of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank Group, World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Trade Organization (WT)) to identify and resolve finance and trade impediments to vaccine, diagnostics, therapeutic production and deliveries.

In a joint statement issued following their second meeting in Washington DC, the Multilateral Leaders reiterated the urgency of providing access to COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments to people in the developing world.

The statement reads: “In the area of vaccines, a key constraint is the acute and alarming shortage in the supply of doses to low and low-middle income countries, especially for the rest of 2021. We call on countries with advanced COVID-19 vaccination programs to release as soon as possible as much of their contracted vaccine doses and options as possible to COVAX, AVAT, and low and low-middle income countries.

“We are concerned that vaccine delivery schedules and contracts for COVAX, AVAT, and low and low-middle income countries are delayed or too slow. Less than 5% of vaccine doses that were pre-purchased by or for low-income countries have been delivered. Our common target is for at least 40% of people in low and low-middle income countries to be vaccinated by the end of 2021. We estimate that less than 20% of the necessary vaccines are currently scheduled for delivery to these countries, whether through COVAX, AVAT, or bilateral deals and dose-sharing agreements.

“We urge COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers to redouble their efforts to scale up production of vaccines specifically for these countries, and to ensure that the supply of doses to COVAX and low and low-middle income countries takes precedence over the promotion of boosters and other activities. We call on governments to reduce or eliminate barriers to the export of vaccines and all materials involved in their production and deployment. We underscore the urgent need for all parties to address supply chain and trade bottlenecks for vaccines, testing, and therapeutics as well as all of the materials involved in their production and deployment.

“As per the IMF staff’s $50 billion proposal to end the pandemic, and in line with the priorities set out by WHO, WTO, IMF and the World Bank Group, over $35 billion in grants are needed with only one third of this financed to date. We welcome the recent announcement by COVAX and the World Bank to accelerate vaccine supplies for developing countries through a new financing mechanism. We also welcome the partnership between the World Bank and AVAT, noting that World Bank financing is now available to support the purchase and deployment of doses secured by both AVAT and COVAX.”

Furthermore, the leaders reiterated that It is critical to improve clarity and transparency around the evolving vaccine market, expected production volumes, delivery schedules, and pre-purchase options, and called on “manufacturers to accelerate delivery to developing countries and we call on advanced economies to scale-up near-term deliveries to developing countries.”

The database and country-by-country dashboards, which also build on the IMF-WHO COVID-19 Vaccine Supply Tracker, seek to focus international attention and mobilize action by illuminating specific gaps, not just globally but also country-by-country.

We call on governments to reduce or eliminate barriers to the export of vaccines and all materials involved in their production and deployment. We underscore the urgent need for all parties to address supply chain and trade bottlenecks for vaccines, testing, and therapeutics as well as all of the materials involved in their production and deployment.

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator, Achim Steiner, had earlier warned that while “The world has seen many crises over the past 30 years, including the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-09. Each has hit human development hard but, overall, development gains accrued globally year-on-year. COVID-19, with its triple hit to health, education, and income, may change this trend.”

Specifically, the UNDP noted that the pandemic presents both an enormous challenge and tremendous opportunities for reaching the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“The SDGs are a roadmap for humanity. They encompass almost every aspect of human and planetary wellbeing and, if met, will provide a stable and prosperous life for every person and ensure the health of the planet,” it said.

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