By Jan Strupczewski and Andrea Shalal
ROME – The Ministers of Finance and Health of the 20 largest economies in the world (G20) said on Friday they would take action to ensure that 70% of the world’s population is vaccinated against COVID-19 by mid-2022 and created a task force to tackle future pandemics.
They could not come to an agreement on a separate financing facility proposed by the United States and Indonesia, but said the working group would explore options for raising funds to strengthen preparedness, prevention and the response to a pandemic.
“To help progress towards the global goals of immunizing at least 40 percent of the population in all countries by the end of 2021 and 70 percent by mid-2022 … we will take action to help increase the supply of vaccines and essential medical products and inputs. in developing countries and eliminate the relevant supply and financing constraints ”, G20 the ministers said in a statement.
The previous goal was to vaccinate 70% of the world’s population by fall 2022.
“We are establishing a G20 Joint Finance-Health Working Group aiming to strengthen dialogue and global cooperation on issues related to the prevention, preparedness and response to pandemics, to promote the exchange of experiences and good practices, to develop agreements of coordination between the ministries of finance and health, promoting collective action, assessing and addressing health emergencies with cross-border impact and encouraging efficient management of resources, ”the statement said.
The ministers said they were setting up the new body because the COVIDThe COVID-19 pandemic has revealed significant gaps in the world’s ability to coordinate its response.
They pledged to support “all collaborative efforts” to provide access to safe, affordable, quality and effective vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics and personal protective equipment, especially in low-income countries and countries. intermediate.
To meet immunization targets, they said they would work to increase the supply of vaccines and essential medical products and inputs to developing countries, while removing constraints on supply and funding, but do not gave no specific details.
Global Citizen, an international rights group, welcomed the earlier target date, but said the world needed a “battle plan” on how to get there, more transparency on the number of doses produced where, when and for whom, and to understand where there were gaps.
“The time has passed for declarations of intent. Now is the time for our leaders to act, ”said Group Vice President Friederike Roder.
The ministers also called for strengthening the resilience of supply chains through voluntary technology transfer centers, such as the newly established mRNA centers in South Africa, Argentina and Brazil, and through joint agreements. production and processing.
The call for a voluntary transfer of mRNA technology means that discussions on the idea of a temporary waiver of intellectual property rights over COVID-19 vaccines and therapies – initially offered by South Africa and India and now championed by the United States – remain blocked at the World Trade Organization.
German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said the G20 had not discussed patents.
“We have a lot of vaccines available around the world, but the reality is that there are still areas in the world where the share of people vaccinated is very low,” Scholz told reporters on the sidelines of the summit.