Multilateral Task Force urges COVID vaccine manufacturers to scale up production

Air Terminal Services workers unload 20,000 COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccines that arrived from Australia last week Friday at the Nadi International Airport. Picture: Australian High Commission/SUPPLIED

The Task Force on COVID-19 Vaccines, Therapeutics and Diagnostics for Developing Countries says the supply of CVID-19 doses to COVAX, and low and low-middle income countries are delayed or ‘too slow’.

And the Task Force has urged vaccine manufacturers to redouble their efforts to scale up production of vaccines, specifically those countries.

The Task Force on COVID-19 Vaccines, Therapeutics and Diagnostics for Developing Countries was established by the heads of the International Monetary Fund, World Bank Group, World Health Organization and the World Trade Organization to identify and resolve finance and trade impediments to vaccine, diagnostics, therapeutic production and deliveries.

“We reiterate the urgency of providing access to COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments to people throughout the developing world. 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,” the Task Force said in a statement issued in Geneva yesterday.

“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.

“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 per centof vaccine doses that were pre-purchased by or for low-income countries have been delivered.”

The Task Force stated that their common target was for at least 40 per cent of people in low and low-middle-income countries to be vaccinated by the end of 2021.

“We estimate that less than 20 per cent 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.”

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