GENEVA – Heads of the World Bank Group (WBG), International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Health organization (WHO) and World Trade organization (WTO) had their first joint task force meeting to discuss and deliberate on COVID-19 Vaccines, Therapeutics and Diagnostics for Developing Countries.
The task force dubbed ‘war room’ comes at a crucial time when several developing countries are struggling with new variants and a resurging wave of infections as the dire need of access to vaccines is becoming critical to help curb the pandemic.
Out of the issues discussed, accelerating access to vaccines will be critical which the G20 nations will be tasked with.
Among the urgent steps the G20 nations were called to take were embrace the target of at least 40 percent in every country by end-2021 and at least 60 percent by the first half of 2022.
Share more vaccine doses now, including by ensuring at least 1 billion doses are shared with developing countries in 2021 starting immediately.
Provide financing, including grants and concessional financing to close the residual gaps, and finally remove all barriers to export inputs and finished vaccines, and other barriers to supply chain operations.
A critical issue that the task force had to mitigate was to ensure transparency is enhanced through compilation of data on dose request (by type and quantity), contracts, deliveries (including through donations), and deployments of COVID-19 vaccines to low and middle-income countries and make it available as part of a shared country-level dashboard.
This task force comes in timely to bolster the already existing ACT Accelerator program, a ground-breaking global collaboration to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.
With this collaborative task force, WBG, IMF, WHO and WTO are focused on having the pandemic at bay within the shortest time possible.
The WBG through the help of the International Development Association (IDA)has already kicked of the program by donating US$4billion for the purchase and deployment of COVID-19 vaccines for 51 developing countries.
Its $4 billion funding will support COVID-19 vaccination efforts in states across Africa and Asian continent mostly.