World facing vaccine crisis as promised funding fails to materialise

There have been urgent calls for the world to deliver on the $50 billion plan to finance the world’s efforts to solve the COVID-19 pandemic amid concerns that the planned funding is not being delivered.

In a hard hitting statement the Task Force on COVID-19 Vaccines, Therapeutics and Diagnostics for Developing Countries, established by the heads of the International Monetary Fund, World Bank Group, World Health Organization and the World Trade Organization said the time for action was now as vaccine supplies to developing nations are not being delivered.

“We reiterate the urgency of providing access to COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments to people throughout the developing world,” said the statement. “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.”

The task force added: “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 is 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.”

The task force also called on governments to deliver the promised funding to enable the world’s economies to begin the rebuilding process and drive the recovery.

“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,” it said. “We welcome the recent announcement by COVAX and the World Bank to accelerate vaccine supplies for developing countries through a new financing mechanism.”

“It is critical to improve clarity and transparency around the evolving vaccine market, expected production volumes, delivery schedules, and pre-purchase option,” warned the Task Force. “We call on manufacturers to accelerate delivery to developing countries and we call on advanced economies to scale-up near-term deliveries to developing countries. ”

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