The heads of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank Group, World Health Organization (WHO), and World Trade Organization (WTO) have launched a website that will act as a COVID-19 vaccine information platform. The website will host data on access to COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics, and the four international agencies’ activities to combat the pandemic.
Launched on 30 July, the website is an initiative of the Task Force on COVID-19 Vaccines, Therapeutics and Diagnostics for Developing Countries. According to the WTO website, the Task Force, which held its first meeting on 30 June, was established to “identify and resolve impediments to vaccine production and deliveries.”
In a joint statement marking the launch, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, President of the World Bank David Malpass, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala “reiterate the urgency of providing access to COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments to people throughout the developing world.”
The four agency heads cite the “acute and alarming shortage in the supply of doses to low and low-middle income countries [(LMICs)], especially for the rest of 2021,” due to delayed vaccine delivery schedules and contracts for COVAX, AVAT, and LMICs. According to their estimates, fewer than 20% of the necessary vaccines are scheduled for delivery to these countries at the moment through COVAX, AVAT, or bilateral deals, with fewer than 5% of pre-purchased vaccine doses having been delivered. The agency heads “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.”
The four agency heads:
- urge COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers to “redouble their efforts to scale up production of vaccines” specifically for LMICs;
- call on governments to reduce or eliminate barriers to the export of vaccines and materials involved in their production and deployment; and
- stress the need for all parties to address supply chain and trade bottlenecks for vaccines, testing, and therapeutics and all for the materials involved in their production and deployment.
The agency heads welcome the recent efforts to finance the IMF’s USD 50 billion proposal to end the pandemic, including the announcement by COVAX and the World Bank to accelerate vaccine supplies for developing countries through a new financing mechanism. They call on manufacturers to accelerate delivery – and on advanced economies to scale up near-term deliveries – to developing countries.
The website presents data on rates of vaccination and the purchase and deliveries of vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics. The data are broken down by country, region, and level of income. A resources section takes users to the four organizations’ activities and initiatives related to COVID-19. [WTO Press Release] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on WHO-WTO High-Level Dialogue on Expanding COVID-19 Vaccine Manufacture to Promote Equitable Access]