Moderna are expected to start supplying Covax in the final quarter of 2021 Photo: AFP/File
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WHO pleads with G7 to step up and combat COVID

22 Comments
By Robin MILLARD

The WHO pleaded Monday with the G7 to dig deep and fund the global COVID-19 recovery, warning the crisis cannot be resolved worldwide if they do not step up.

The World Health Organization said the Group of Seven industrial powers had the ability to fund the vaccines, tests and treatments needed to conquer the pandemic -- and knock down the barriers blocking faster production.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged the G7 to take decisive action at their June 11-13 summit, being hosted by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Cornwall, southwest England.

"The G7 countries are the world's economic and political leaders. They are also home to many of the world's vaccine producers," Tedros told a news conference. "We will only solve the vaccine crisis with the leadership of these countries."

Tedros was backed up by former British prime minister Gordon Brown, who warned the pandemic was becoming a "man-made catastrophe".

The Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator program for finding, developing and distributing coronavirus jabs, tests and therapeutics, is $19 billion short of its $22-billion target this year.

And a further $35 to $45 billion dollars will be needed next year to ensure most adults around the world get immunized.

Brown, who chaired the wider G20 in 2009 as it plotted its way out of the global financial crisis, called for immediate decisive action from world leaders.

"I say to the G7... you have the power and the ability to pay for nearly two-thirds of the costs and secure a historic breakthrough by agreeing an equitable burden-sharing formula," the former finance minister said.

Brown said that based on national income, wealth and benefits from the resumption of trade, the United States would pay 27 percent of the cost; Europe 23 percent; Japan six percent; Britain five percent; and Canada -- plus South Korea and Australia, who will also attend the G7 -- two percent each.

Brown added that he detected a change in Washington's attitude in recent days towards vaccine production licensing agreements and temporary intellectual property rights waivers, which could expand production capacity.

Nearly 1.2 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses have so far been injected worldwide, according to an AFP count.

But just 0.2 percent of them have been administered in the 29 lowest-income countries, home to nine percent of the global population.

And the Covax global vaccine-sharing program has largely been elbowed out of the market by rich countries striking their own deals with manufacturers.

Its main supplier is the Serum Institute of India (SII), which is producing AstraZeneca vaccines. But increased demand for doses in India itself, where the pandemic is raging, has also interrupted Covax supplies.

Bruce Aylward, the WHO lead on Covax, said the stoppage had so far deprived Covax of some 100 million doses it had been anticipating, and acknowledged it still had no firm date for when SII would resume deliveries.

Meanwhile, WHO's chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan warned the additional vaccine doses going to India would not slow the outbreak there immediately.

This "is not going to come down by vaccination", the Indian clinical scientist told reporters, stressing that it takes time for vaccinations to be distributed and then take effect.

Tedros also sounded a reminder that more new COVID-19 cases were reported in the past two weeks than during the first six months of the pandemic, with India and then Brazil making up the lion's share.

Covax announced Monday it had struck a deal to buy 500 million doses of Moderna's COVID-19 jabs, with 34 million doses of the two-shot vaccine in the final quarter of 2021 and a further 466 million next year.

Under Covax, the cost of vaccines for the 92 poorest participating economies is covered by donors.

Covax has so far shipped more than 49 million COVID-19 vaccine doses worldwide.

Covax has been urging wealthy countries to donate excess doses to cover supply shortages.

Sweden on Monday donated one million paid-for AstraZeneca doses, which notably will help people in Africa to receive their second jab.

The United States has said it will share 60 million AstraZeneca doses, but has not confirmed when, or whether they will flow via Covax.

© 2021 AFP

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.


22 Comments
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Why doesn't the WHO send the bill to their friends in the Chinese Communist Party?

-1 ( +10 / -11 )

WHO should plead with China. Not the rest of the world.

"WHO pleads with G7 to step up and combat COVID"

0 ( +7 / -7 )

[Former Labour Party British prime minister Gordon Brown] said that based on national income, wealth and benefits from the resumption of trade, the United States would pay 27 percent of the cost; Europe 23 percent; Japan six percent; Britain five percent; and Canada -- plus South Korea and Australia, who will also attend the G7 -- two percent each.

Got it: 67%.

Well, maybe?

Less then a month ago, Mr. Brown penned an op-ed piece to The Guardian, entitled: The G7 must push for global vaccination. Here’s how it could do it In it, he said.

"A more equitable burden-sharing would also weigh the differential gains to richer countries from the resumption of trade and the special privileges of G7 and G20 membership. Under such a formula, the US might contribute about 25% . . . and the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Japan between 4% and 7% each, so the poorest countries are exempt. Here the G7 is critical: its members should declare that they will contribute their full share, totalling 60%. If they did so, China, Russia, Scandinavia and the oil states would feel bound to follow."

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/apr/12/g7-global-vaccination-covid

Not surprisingly, The China Daily immediately jumped on his words:

Gordon Brown said the world has entered a "vaccine apartheid", because a small group of affluent nations control the lion's share of treatments, while a significant majority of the developing world remains unprotected against the virus. Brown suggested that the G7 is "best positioned" to agree to transfer vaccine technology to low-income countries. The G7 is made up of the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States. The next G7 annual summit, which will also be attended by representatives from the European Union, is set for June 11.

"We cannot afford to not act," Brown said. "The funds needed are a fraction of the trillions COVID-19 is costing us. They are less than 2 percent of (US President) Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act. Indeed, it would benefit the US or Europe to underwrite the first $30 billion-not as an act of charity, but as self-insurance to protect national interests. If the G7 came together in June to fund mass vaccination, by 2025, their economies would be at least $500 billion better off, according to the Eurasia Group."

https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202104/13/WS6074f303a31024ad0bab5127.html

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

WEF can kick WHO bottom anytime.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Wouldn't having the Western nations of the G7 (and Japan) take over the rest of the globe's Covid-19 response efforts be akin to the bygone era of colonialism and imperialism? Sorry but the "me too, so woke, globalist" world you wanted is here - deal with it!

1 ( +6 / -5 )

There is a simple and cheap cure for Covid. Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine ! There is no need for these experimental gene changing vaccines. India was doing well on Ivermectin with cases of Covid dropping right down. They went straight up after people got the vaccinations.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

There is a simple and cheap cure for Covid. Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine ! 

This is a dangerously false statement.

https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/why-you-should-not-use-ivermectin-treat-or-prevent-covid-19

https://www.cochrane.org/news/chloroquine-or-hydroxychloroquine-useful-treating-people-covid-19-or-preventing-infection

There is no need for these experimental gene changing vaccines.

The vaccines do not "change genes", that is not actually scientifically possible.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

someone needs to follow the "science"

"Genome editing is a way of making changes to specific parts of a genome. Scientists have been able to alter DNA since the 1970s, but in recent years, they have developed faster, cheaper, and more precise methods to add, remove, or change genes in living organisms."

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I was referring to the theories floating around anti-vaxx circles that the covid-19 vaccines somehow change people's DNA (which is what vic.m was implying). They don't.

https://www.reuters.com/article/factcheck-vaccine-dna-idUSL2N2L23EM

Confusion around this issue may have arisen from new mRNA technology used in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which involve the injection of a small part of the virus’s genetic code (RNA) to stimulate immune response in a patient without an infection (here and here).

The mRNA from the vaccine does not alter the recipient’s DNA, is broken down shortly after vaccination, and does not stay in the body (here).

2 ( +3 / -1 )

you said it isnt scientifically possible to change genes.

It actually is scientifically possible to change genes. so how can you know the vaccine isnt doing it?

because a pharma company selling a vaccine told you so?

They didnt tell you the vaccine causes blood clots either, did they? well the J&J one does.

that is not actually scientifically possible.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

WHO pleads with G7 to step up and combat COVID

WHO should also reform itself to step up combat Covid and Beijing-favoritism.

It is reported that WHO chief Tedros is seeking re-election. Enough is enough. #UncleTedPleaseRetire

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

you said it isnt scientifically possible to change genes.

I was referring to the theories floating around anti-vaxx circles that the covid-19 vaccines somehow change people's DNA (which is what vic.m was implying). They don't.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

its a big difference between you know the vaccines dont because its scientifically impossible and you know they dont because the pamphlet from the vaccine maker says it wont. thats CANT vs. WONT.

I want "cant".

To each his own level of trust of pharma and big government. My friends arent too happy with J&J right now as they now have to consider the fact they can have a blood clot and die at any moment.

Thats scary, to say the least. and for what, to prevent to get something you are 99% sure not to get already?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I want "cant".

No problem, here's "can't":

https://www.gavi.org/vaccineswork/will-mrna-vaccine-alter-my-dna

Messenger RNA (mRNA) is found in all living cells. These strands of genetic code act as chemical intermediaries between the DNA in our chromosomes and the cellular machinery that produces the proteins we need to function: mRNA provides the instructions this machinery needs to assemble these proteins.

However, mRNA isn’t the same as DNA, and it can’t combine with our DNA to change our genetic code. It is also relatively fragile, and will only hang around inside a cell for about 72 hours, before being degraded.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Keep the WHO hands of the vaccines that Canada's Trudeau is begging off of Covax!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Then the WHO WINKED, WINKED at Japan!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The World Health Organization said the Group of Seven industrial powers had the ability to fund the vaccines, tests and treatments needed to conquer the pandemic -- and knock down the barriers blocking faster production.

If the WHO wants a leader who can produce a new vaccine on a global scale and fast, perhaps they should ask the one person who actually produced one in record time - former President Trump. Biden’s efforts to this point have only led to more deaths and misery despite the fact that he inherited a vaccination program that was quickly ramping up at the very moment he took office.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

How about asking the country that started this nightmare to take some responsibility for this miserable mess they created. China is like the bad drunk that spoils a decent party.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There are some bizarre posting above, going off on all sorts of bizarre rants. Some can't see the wood for the trees. The idea is of working together and and sharing protection and treatment more equitably, so protection and treatment is not only for a wealthy minority. Brown simply tried to sugar the pill for those without humanitarian feelings by appealing to their self-interest, saying if you don't help poorer populations, in your own country or globally, it will come back to haunt you.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The G7 should finance a world vaccination to ensure even poor countries get it. The increase in wealth by the richest people during the pandemic would also be more than vaccinating the world.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This virus originated in china and they did very little to stop it's international spread ( the whole wuhan pock down was done only to reduce economic damage internally ) so as some commentators have said, why not ask china to pay? Ahhh...because organisations such as the who receive huge bucks from the commies in china and you wouldn't want to bite the hand that feeds you, would you?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The elephant in the middle of the room that is conveniently being ignored in advance of the G-7 summit in June is the necessity of booster shots. Most public health experts appear to agree at this point that recipients of all of the existing vaccines will likely need a booster at some point, now that herd immunity seems to be unattainable in the foreseeable future (hence the UNSG saying, "In an interconnected world, none of us is safe until all of us are safe").

Much debate is underway as to how soon and how often, but it appears to be necessary under the current scientific viewpoint.

Yes, they are working on a pill, patch or spray form, but that appears to be mid next year at the earliest.

Back to the elephant: who is supposed to pay for initial immunity AND booster immunity for all the world in ad infinitum?

Is this really the first of many future discussions over having less than a dozen countries paying for the health care of citizens for all other countries?

If it is the right thing to do during a Covid pandemic, will it also be the right thing to do within the walls of the five global health crisis that have been declared by the WHO, along with the ten global health emergencies and threats that the WHO has already announced? https://www.who.int/news-room/spotlight/ten-threats-to-global-health-in-2019.

This has been in the making for some time. The WHO already has a plan to get it all done, so why shouldn't the rest of us get a preview over how much it is going to cost?

Consider, for example:

The rise of health issues such as HIV, pandemic influenza and Ebola on international agendas has led to the framing of threats to health as security issues. This has created an uneasy relationship between politics and health, by moving national interests into an area traditionally dominated by scientific rationalities and a predisposition towards cosmopolitan norms. Framing global health threats as risks, however, appears to be less politically charged and divisive, combining an aura of scientific objectivity with a moral call to action . . . [F]raming health in terms of risk is useful in understanding how health issues reflect and contribute to the wider **Zeitgeist concerning societal vulnerability: that dangers exist which are uncontrollable and are the product of technical progress. The risk frame allows us to place health issues into this wider context, where disease is just one of a number of concurrent dangers, rather than a separately identifiable hazard. [Bolding added] *Colin McInnes, Anne Roemer-Mahler, From security to risk: reframing global health threats, International Affairs*, Volume 93, Issue 6, November 2017, Pages 1313–1337, https://doi.org/10.1093/ia/iix187.

Come on, we are all grown ups. Just tell us, so that we can have an informed discussion on topic.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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