G-20 News

G-20, pharmaceutical companies promise more vaccines for poorest countries, Europe News & Top Stories

ROME • Coronavirus vaccine producers pledged billions of doses for poorest countries at Group of 20 (G-20) health summit, where leaders pledged to expand access injections to end the pandemic.

The bosses of Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson have announced that they will provide around 3.5 billion doses of the vaccine at cost or at a discount to low- and middle-income countries this year and next.

Meanwhile, the European Union has pledged to donate 100 million doses and invest in regional manufacturing centers in Africa to reduce the continent’s dependence on imports.

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus praised the “generous announcements” but warned that “in the coming months we will need hundreds of millions of additional doses”.

In their statement to Friday’s summit, the G-20 countries stressed the importance of open supply chains and equitable access to tools to fight Covid-19.

“This is a very clear ‘no’ to health nationalism,” said European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, who co-hosted the summit with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, the current chairman of the G-20.

But the five-page text, containing a list of 16 principles, stopped short of endorsing the controversial idea of ​​a temporary global waiver on patent protection for coronavirus vaccines to boost global production.

Instead, he called for other tools, such as “data sharing, capacity building, licensing agreements and voluntary transfers of technology and know-how on mutually agreed terms. agreement”.

The summit was billed as an attempt to learn the lessons of the pandemic, which has killed more than 3.4 million people worldwide since the virus was first detected at the end of 2019.

The final declaration underscored the need to invest in global health systems and improve data sharing and surveillance of human and animal diseases.

But while many wealthy countries are experiencing a slowdown in infections, thanks to vaccination campaigns, many others are still struggling with new outbreaks. The urgent need to help them dominated the discussions of the day.

Across India and its neighbors, Covid-19 cases and deaths have reached record levels in recent weeks, and these Asian countries are counting on vaccination campaigns to prevent the next outbreak.

Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka are on the verge of running out of vaccine doses and hope China and Russia will step up South Asia’s efforts to tackle the devastating pandemic wave.

Bangladesh has around a million doses of China’s Covishield injections from AstraZeneca and Sinopharm, and expected 100,000 injections from Pfizer, but it will all go away in a few days, health government chief ABM Khorshed said on Friday. Alam.

In Washington, an International Monetary Fund report underscored the urgent need to immunize the world, with a US $ 50 billion (S $ 67 billion) plan to end the pandemic primarily focused on expanding the deployment of vaccines.

He noted that as of last month, less than 2% of Africans had been vaccinated, while more than 40% of the population of the United States and more than 20% in Europe had received at least one dose.

China, meanwhile, pledged an additional US $ 3 billion in aid over the next three years to help developing countries recover, while Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany would increase its contribution to Covax, the international vaccine initiative, at more than one billion euros (S $ 1.6 billion).

A Covax spokesperson told Agence France-Presse it had obtained enough doses through existing and ongoing agreements to immunize up to 30% of the population in 92 low- and middle-income countries, or about 1.8 billion doses.