Increasing global vaccine production, promoting industrial cooperation, fostering the development of production capacities to ensure local demand for tests, treatments and vaccines to fight and overcome the COVID-19 pandemic. These are some of the key elements for increasing equitable distribution of vaccines, together with the urgent need to ensure fully operational supply chains, highlighted during the two engagements attended today by Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Marina Sereni.
In the morning, the Vice Minister spoke at the meeting of the Facilitation Council of the ACT-A Accelerator (Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator), chaired by Norwegian Minister for International Development Dag-Inge Ulstein and South African Minister for Health Zweli Mkhize, and co-hosted by WHO Director-General Tedros Gebreyesus and EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides.
“Over the last few weeks,” Sereni told the Council, “there has been a sharp increase in the pandemic worldwide. Fortunately, vaccine deliveries are increasing rapidly, and many countries have been able to start immunisation campaigns. This result was possible thanks to the Covax Facility, a multilateral vaccine access programme, a very effective tool for providing safe vaccines everywhere and ensuring equitable and universal access to them. But it is not enough,” she noted, “we need more funding for the Accelerator. We call on all countries that have not yet contributed to ACT-A to start doing so because we need additional contributors. We also need to strengthen the supply chain and accelerate global production. In a few days, as Presidency of the G20, Italy will host the Global Health Summit and the European Commission. The Summit,” Sereni concluded, “will be an opportunity to discuss ACT-A’s activities and the future strategies to be undertaken so that we can all win the battle against COVID-19”.
In the afternoon, the Vice Minister took part in a virtual meeting with Seth Berkley, CEO of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI). GAVI plays a leading role in the Covax programme and is one of the main instruments on which ACT-A’s work is based. The Alliance’s crucial role in the global pandemic response and control was the main focus of the conversation.
“We very much appreciate GAVI’s role in the international response to the COVID-19 pandemic and how the Alliance has been the driving force behind the Covax structure GAVI’s role has been crucial in response to COVID-19, especially through the Advance Market Commitment tool.”
“We are proud to have been among the early supporters of GAVI and to have continued this collaboration over the last two challenging years through ACT-A and Covax”, – said Vice Minister Sereni at the end of the meeting.