G7 leaders donate 870 million vaccine doses of COVID-19 pandemic for low and low-middle income countries over the next year.
ACT-Accelerator’s funding gap remains significant with an urgent need for funding of tests, treatments and health systems to ensure an end to the pandemic everywhere; WHO Director General warns of increasing divide in equity to crucial COVID-19 tools; Total funding committed to the ACT-Accelerator partnership remains US$ 15.1 billion with a gap of over US$16 billion.
At the close of this year’s G7 Leaders’ summit, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland announced a donation of an additional 870 million vaccine doses from attendees, with the majority to be delivered through COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID 19 Tools Accelerator, within the next year. Attendees included heads of G7 Member States plus Australia, India, South Africa and Republic of Korea, invited as guests.
Leaders confirmed their support for all pillars of the ACT-Accelerator across treatments, tests and strengthening public health systems as well as vaccines (link to the communique). Additionally, they indicated their intention to work together with the private sector, the G20 and other countries to increase their vaccine contribution over the months to come. Since their G7 Early Leaders’ Summit in February 2021, the G7 has committed one billion doses in total.
Timing is key
WHO Director General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, spoke to leaders at their meeting and urged “many other countries are now facing a surge in cases – and they are facing it without vaccines. We are in the race of our lives, but it’s not a fair race, and most countries have barely left the starting line. We welcome the generous announcements about donations of vaccines and thank leaders. But we need more, and we need them faster”.
Over US$ 16 billion is still needed this year to fully fund the work of ACT-Accelerator, the global partnership of leading international health organizations which is mid-way through its 2020-21 funding need. In additional to vital vaccine research and development and procurement work, ACT-Accelerator needs funds to strengthen health systems and protect health workers administering the tools needed to end the pandemic; tests to detect and contain hotspots, as well as identify new variants that will continue to appear; and treatments to save the lives of those who will continue to catch COVID-19 and suffer. There is an urgent need for treatments like oxygen which is seeing a surge in demand that is 5 times – and in cases such as India, 10 times – greater than the need before the pandemic.
The funding needed for the ACT-Accelerator will address challenges delivering products where they are most needed, help establish testing for 500 million people in low- and middle-income countries by mid-2021 and help secure the necessary supply of oxygen as well as distribute 165 million doses of treatments including dexamethasone which can save lives of people critically ill with COVID. by /APO Group/