UNGA world leaders’ pledge to vaccinate the world is woefully insufficient as only a third of countries meet target – Reuters

According to figures released today by Oxfam and the People’s Vaccine Alliance, two-thirds of countries have yet to reach the target of vaccinating 70% of the population in all countries against COVID-19 set a year ago. year at the United Nations General Assembly.

Campaign groups said there had been a massive failure to deliver on the promise despite President Biden persuading world leaders to commit to the World Health Organization goal.

They call on leaders to radically change their approach to current and future pandemics by prioritizing sustainable local manufacturing in all regions of the world to ensure developing countries have equal access to vaccines, tests and treatments. They said the continued approach of leaving Big Pharma in charge of the response has prolonged the pandemic for all of us and continues to cause havoc the world cannot afford.

The death toll from COVID-19 is four times higher in low-income countries, where less than half (48%) of the population has had their first full round of vaccinations. At the current rate, it will take nearly two and a half years for 70% of people in the poorest countries to be fully immunized. Meanwhile, rich countries are already beginning to roll out booster programs and, in some cases, fifth shots, using the next-generation vaccines, the majority of which have been ordered by rich countries.

At the same time, Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna continue to reap huge profits while refusing to work with the WHO to share their vaccine technology, despite being publicly funded.

Anna Marriott, Oxfam’s health policy manager, said: “This massive failure to deliver on promises to protect the world from Covid-19 is indefensible. While the end of the pandemic should be in sight, hundreds of millions of people in developing countries are still unprotected against COVID-19. We call on President Biden and other world leaders not to turn their backs on them as the virus continues to kill and devastate people’s livelihoods.

“It is time to radically rethink a system that puts pharmaceutical profits ahead of people’s lives. Developing countries must have access to vaccines, tests and treatments at the same time as rich countries, not years later after people die. We are seeing the same deadly inequality for COVID-19 treatments and now for monkeypox vaccines, governments must not allow this to continue. »

The lack of vaccination means that the need for COVID-19 testing and treatment is even greater in poorer countries, but the inequality of access is even more glaring, but rich countries are fiercely resisting any attempt to extend the WTO agreement on vaccines to tests and treatments. Reports from the ACT-Accelerator indicated that almost no doses of outpatient antivirals are available in low- and middle-income countries.

Campaign groups said this continuing gap demonstrates the massive failures of the international response to COVID-19, which has continually ignored the need to diversify manufacturing so that developing countries can manufacture their own doses and manage their own drug supply. same time as deliveries to rich countries. They call on leaders to:

  • Implement an immediate extension of the June 2022 WTO decision on COVID-19 vaccine patents to include tests and treatments – nothing can justify a delay.
  • Support and protect the World Health Organization-led mRNA Technology Transfer Center, including demanding that Moderna withdraw its patents in South Africa and guarantee the center the freedom to develop COVID-19 and others life-saving vaccines now and in the future.
  • Deliver a pandemic treaty that provides lifesaving vaccines, tests and treatments as global public goods, free from the monopoly control of pharmaceutical companies.
  • Commit to an unprecedented increase in funding to strengthen national health systems in low- and middle-income countries and global financial support to close immunization coverage gaps for low- and middle-income countries that have not yet reached the 70% target.
  • Reject Big Pharma-led proposals – the so-called Berlin Declaration – that would leave complete control of who lives and who dies in their hands.

A recent report found that a combination of unpredictable vaccine supplies, lack of antiviral treatments and insufficient funding for health systems are driving down vaccination rates in developing countries, and that vaccine hesitancy was being used as an excuse to mask international failures in the COVID -19 response.

Maaza Seyoum, Global South Convenor of the People’s Vaccine Alliance, said: “Everyone, everywhere should have access to the tools needed to fight a pandemic, but COVID-19 has been a case of survival of the most rich. For most of this pandemic, big pharma let people die in developing countries without vaccines or treatments while selling doses to wealthy governments in the global north.

“Now big pharma is trying to rewrite history, claiming that industry will voluntarily ensure global access to medicines in the next pandemic. We know from COVID-19 that this is not true. cannot rely on the goodwill of pandemic profiteers to do the right thing. We need to overhaul this system to put human life before private profit.

The People’s Vaccine Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 organizations, has distributed posters throughout New York, host of the United Nations General Assembly, describing the COVID-19 pandemic as “survival of the wealthy.”

Notes to Editors

A panel discussion hosted by the People’s Vaccine Alliance and others on ensuring justice, fairness, and human rights in response to global health threats will take place Thursday, September 22 at 12:30 p.m. PT at Yale Club in New York. Interested media can register here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScKU8MtTbqFumoM-mntjTzrW8MUPXV9DwYmX3dWruo7M7LP_Q/viewform

A map of where photographers can find Survival of the Richest posters is available here. The red “Dedicated Site PVA” marking will be maintained by activists throughout the UNGA High Level Week: https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1chRWsUsTHA4BoBXxFPbh5LqtmNeVfFI&usp=sharing

A recent report by Matahari Global Solutions, Treatment Preparedness Coalition, and People’s Vaccine Alliance found that unpredictable vaccine supplies, lack of antiviral treatments, and insufficient funding for health systems are leading to low immunization rates and limiting the ability to treat patients: https://itpcglobal .org/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Mapping-Access-Gaps-in-COVID-19.pdf

The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Associations (IFPMA) is lobbying governments to play a greater role in funding, supporting, reducing risk and providing data for research and development. But they want governments to give companies a monopoly on the resulting drugs and waive liability for any adverse effects. In return, the industry says it will do better to improve ‘fairness’ in the next pandemic, proposing the same voluntary measures that failed during COVID-19 in a lobbying document dubbed the ‘Berlin Declaration’. .

Data taken from Our World in Data on 14.9.22

  • A search of the WHO’s 194 members on Our World in Data found that 60 countries have met the 70% target, 129 are below and 5 have not reported any data.
  • The rate of fully vaccinated people is based on the number of people declared fully vaccinated between 07/06/2022 and 04/09/2022 – 37,253,644 people or 418,580 per day on average. 70% of the population in low-income countries, minus those who have already been fully vaccinated, or 368,878,851. Dividing this figure by the average daily vaccination rate gives 881 days until the goal is reached. achieved. This figure includes Rwanda, which is the only low-income country to have already reached the 70% target, but it is not possible to exclude them from the dataset we use – the difference that including them in the overall figure is, however, negligible.

Contact information

Sarah Dransfield | Oxford, United Kingdom | [email protected] or [email protected] | +44 (0)7884 114825

Jade Tenwick | Brussels, Belgium | [email protected] | mobile +32 473 56 22 60

Paula Andrés Richart | Brussels, Belgium | [email protected]

For updates please follow @OxfamNews and @OxfamEU

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