WHO makes five COVID-19 requests to G20 leaders

WHO makes five COVID-19 requests to G20 leaders
WHO makes five COVID-19 requests to G20 leaders

World Health Organisation (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has made about five requests to the G20 leaders with regards to COVID-19 vaccines.

He said G20 leaders have the onus of ensuring that there is vaccine equity in the world.

According to the WHO director-general, of the 7 billion vaccines that have been administered in the world, 80% have gone to the G20 members.

In his statement to the G20 leaders, he said vaccine equity should not been seen as charity.

‘’I have five requests. First, solve the vaccine crisis and end the pandemic. Since you met virtually in Riyadh last year, 7 billion vaccine doses have been administered. Low-income countries, most of them in Africa, have received just 0.4% of those vaccines; more than 80% have gone to G20 countries.

‘’We understand and support every government’s responsibility to protect its own people. But vaccine equity is not charity; it’s in every country’s best interests. We welcome your support for WHO’s targets to vaccinate 40% of the population of all countries by the end of this year, and 70% by mid-2022.

‘’82 countries are at risk of missing that target. For most, the barrier is not absorptive capacity, it’s insufficient supply.

We call on those countries that have already reached 40% to swap your vaccine delivery schedules with COVAX and AVAT;

We ask you to support local vaccine production in Africa;

We call on those countries that have promised to donate vaccines to make good on those promises, as urgently as possible.

‘’Second, fully fund the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, which needs 23.4 billion U.S. dollars over the next 12 months to get tests, treatments and vaccines to where they are needed most. 

‘’Third, support an ambitious G20 Joint Finance-Health Task Force, linked to a financial intermediary fund for additional financing of pandemic preparedness and response, with clear linkages to WHO as Chancellor Merkel outlined earlier. 

‘’Fourth, adopt a treaty or international agreement rooted in the constitution of WHO. 

‘’And fifth, invest in a strengthened, empowered and sustainably financed WHO, at the centre of the global health architecture.

When we met less than a year ago, 1.5 million people had lost their lives to COVID-19. A year later, the toll is 5 million. 

How many more will die, in this and future epidemics?’

‘’The answer is in your hands. Solve the vaccine crisis; Fully fund the ACT Accelerator; Establish the task force and the fund; Adopt a treaty or international agreement; and strengthen WHO,’’ he said.