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Leaders Seek Removal Of Export Restrictions On COVID-19 Vaccines






(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Multilateral Leaders Taskforce (MLT) on COVID-19 has called on all countries to eliminate export restrictions and any other trade barriers on COVID-19 vaccines and the inputs involved in their production.

The membership of MLT comprise of heads of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank Group, World Health Organization (WTO) and World Trade Organization (WTO).

The multilateral leaders group gave the charge last week at the end of its meeting with leaders of the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT), Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), Gavi and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Washington, United States.

The meeting was convened to tackle obstacles to rapidly scale-up vaccines in low- and lower middle-income countries, particularly in Africa.

Meanwhile, the global rollout of COVID-19 vaccines is progressing at two alarmingly different speeds. According to MLT, less than 2 percent of adults are fully vaccinated in most low-income countries compared to almost 50 percent in high‑income countries.

Regrettably, these countries, the majority of which are in Africa, simply cannot access sufficient vaccine to meet even the global goals of 10 percent coverage in all countries by September and 40 percent by end 2021, let alone the African Union’s goal of 70 percent in 2022.



“This crisis of vaccine inequity is driving a dangerous divergence in COVID-19 survival rates and in the global economy. We appreciate the important work of AVAT and COVAX to try and address this unacceptable situation”, the multilateral said in statement made available to the media. 

The group noted that to effectively tackle this acute vaccine supply shortage in low-and lower middle-income countries, and have fully enabled AVAT and COVAX, requires the urgent cooperation of vaccine manufacturers, vaccine-producing countries, and countries that have already achieved high vaccination rates.

“We call on vaccine manufacturers to immediately prioritize and fulfill their contracts to COVAX and AVAT, and to provide regular, clear supply forecasts. We urge G7 and all dose-sharing countries to fulfill their pledges urgently, with enhanced pipeline visibility, product shelf life and support for ancillary supplies, as barely 10 percent of nearly 900 million committed doses have so far been shipped.

“We are in parallel intensifying our work with COVAX and AVAT to tackle persistent vaccine delivery, manufacturing and trade issues, notably in Africa, and mobilize grants and concessional financing for these purposes. We will also explore financing mechanisms to cover future vaccine needs as requested by AVAT.

“We will advocate for better supply forecasts and investments to increase country preparedness and absorptive capacity. And we will continue to enhance our data, to identify gaps and improve transparency in the supply and use of all COVID-19 tools. The time for action is now. The course of the pandemic—and the health of the world—are at stake”, the group further explained.


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