UN on Sunday welcomed G7 nations’ commitment to immediate sharing of 870 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, supporting global access and helping to end the pandemic.
The Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Henrietta Fore, in a statement, said equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines represented the clearest pathway out of the pandemic for all, including children.
She noted that the commitments announced by G7 member were an important step in that direction.
“We have reached a grim milestone in this pandemic; there are already more deaths from COVID-19 in 2021 than in all of last year.
“Without urgent action, this devastation will continue,” Fore said.
The UNICEF top official noted the need for a “ramp up” in both the amount and pace of supply.
According to her, when it comes to ending the COVID-19 pandemic, “our best interests and our best natures align and this crisis will not be over until it is over for everyone.”
In addition, she said the virus mutated and produced new variants that could potentially threaten the vaccinated and unvaccinated alike as the pandemic raged.
“Donating doses now is a smart policy that speaks to our collective best interests,” the UNICEF executive director said.
Fore said distribution and readiness needed clear timelines as to when they would be available, particularly in countries with poor health infrastructure.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the lives of children, affecting every aspect of their lives: their health, education, protection and future prosperity.
“Now, more than ever, what we do today will have a significant and lasting impact on our collective tomorrows. There is no time to waste,” she added.
The G7 has committed one billion doses since the February 2021 virtual G7 Early Leaders’ Summit, including pledges made at the G20 Global Health Summit.
The G7 countries are a group of the world’s seven largest advanced economies namely: the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Canada, France, Japan and the United States.
The G7 leaders also reaffirmed their support for the UN-led equitable vaccine distribution initiative, COVAX, calling it “the primary route for providing vaccines to the poorest countries.”
Similarly, the COVAX alliance welcomed the G7’s commitment, including their continued support for exporting in significant proportions and for promoting voluntary licensing and not-for-profit global production.
The partners look forward to “seeing doses flowing to countries as soon as possible.”
COVAX will work with the G7 and other countries that have stepped up to share doses as rapidly and equitably as possible to help address short-term supply constraints.
It will help address short-term supply constraints currently impacting the global response to COVID-19 and minimise the prospect of future deadly variants.