The COVID-19 vaccine rollout to date has been wildly disparate, with the vast majority of doses being bought up and administered by wealthy countries. AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the world’s largest HIV/AIDS care provider globally, joins the world’s leading multilateral institutions in calling for the G20 to do more to ensure COVID-19 vaccine equity worldwide.
Many lower-income countries have only vaccinated tiny fractions of their populations, while people in countries like Haiti have no access at all. Heads of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, World Health Organization (WHO), and World Trade Organization (WTO) all recently asked G20 leaders to do more to end the pandemic. According to an article in The Guardian, IMF chief, Kristalina Georgieva, said the G7 agreement to donate 870 million excess vaccines was not enough and urged the G20 group to be more ambitious.
“Since the wealthiest nations are responsible for the vaccine hoarding that has caused so much scarcity worldwide, they bear the burden of protecting allhumanity by ensuring everyone, regardless of economic status or country of origin, has access to lifesaving vaccines,” said AHF Chief of Global Advocacy and Policy Terri Ford. “COVID-19 continues to devastate countries in Latin America and Africa, and while the announcement by G7 nations of vaccine donations is a nice gesture, charity alone will not end this pandemic. Poorer countries need vaccine production ramped up in more locations, which starts with waiving vaccine patents. G20 leaders must make it happen. Where is their sense of urgency?!”
AHF’s ongoing ‘Vaccinate Our World’ call-to-action lauched in April with an appeal to world leaders to do more, including raising $100 billion for 7 billion vaccines within a year. The campaign also calls for waiving all patents on vaccines, significantly increasing international cooperation, and demanding 100% transparency from countries on global public health.
“The longer rich countries wait to act, the longer the pandemic will continue – causing countless preventable deaths and all but guaranteeing the rise of more dangerous virus strains,” added Ford. “The world needs economic and health stability – that can’t happen unless G20 countries do more to ensure everyone can be protected by having access to vaccines.”