‘US should pledge to create partnerships for cost-sharing, co-investment to end Covid vaccine crisis’

MUMBAI: Pressure is mounting on rich nations, like the US to urgently address the global Covid-19 vaccine crisis, and worldwide inequities in availability of vaccines. American leadership is required to ensure universal global access to high-quality and safe vaccines, leaders across internationally-reputed organizations said.
The US should support rapid vaccine distribution and administration, and build a sustainable global network of vaccine manufacturing capacity, they said.

Earlier in March over 400 US civil society groups urged President Joe Biden to support the waiver of intellectual property on Covid-19 drugs, vaccines and diagnostics. Recently, in a major turnaround, US said it will support a waiver of intellectual property on Covid-19 vaccines.

US could significantly boost global efforts by collaborating with other G7 nations to pledge at the June G7 Leaders’ Summit to collectively share at least one billion doses by the end of 2021, the statement said.

Significantly with regard to India, they say US should provide seed financing for high-quality regional manufacturing, led by the US International Development Finance Corporation. This would help expedite expanded capacity in existing plants in regional hubs in low- and middle-income countries, such as with the Quad Vaccine Partnership investment in Biological E in India.

Institutions including Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy, Duke Global Health Innovation Center, and Duke Global Health Institute, as well as Covid Collaborative, Center for Global Development, and Center for Strategic and International Studies, have come together to call for urgent high-level US leadership to address the escalating global vaccine crisis.

US commitments should spur other nations with substantial access to high-quality vaccines to donate these as well, they feel. The US government, with a clear strategy and strong leadership, will be positioned to push for similar strategies and commitments from other global leaders, especially at the upcoming G20 Global Health Summit, World Health Assembly, and G7 Leaders’ Summit. The US government should pledge to create partnership mechanisms for cost-sharing, co-investment, and dose-sharing, the statement says.

It also pointed out the importance of strengthening the supply chain of vaccines globally so as to ramp up global vaccine production. Priority should be given to investments that could credibly lead to new vaccine manufacturing within six months. Increased high-quality manufacturing requires building on US steps to strengthen supply chains, including capacity of input materials such as manufacturing equipment, bioreactor bags and filters. Recently, US agreed to Serum Institute’s request for supplying crucial raw materials required in the manufacture of Covishield.
The US administration must build on these steps to address critical needs within the next six-nine months and provide a foundation for broad and sustainable access to vaccines for the long term, said the leaders.
The unprecedented wave of Covid-19 now engulfing many nations including India, Brazil, and other nations—and the extreme and widening global inequities in access to vaccines—test our collective conscience and threaten our national security, it added. Indicating the huge inequity, while around 46% of Americans and over 25% of Europeans have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, only 14% of those in South America, 4.8% in Asia, and 1.2% in Africa have been vaccinated.

The Biden administration has already taken several steps in this direction, including providing funding through Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, for the lower and lower-middle income countries eligible for support under the Covax Advance Market Commitment (AMC); supporting a temporary waiver of some intellectual property protections for vaccines; and brokering voluntary licensing deals for vaccine manufacturing.


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