As world falls short of WHO vaccine target, US announces a 6-point action plan
US secretary of state Antony J Blinken said the Global Action Plan takes on what the international community has identified as the biggest barriers left in the fight to end the Covid-19 pandemic.
WASHINGTON: Acknowledging that the world is “well below” the World Health Organization (WHO)’s target of vaccinating 70% of people in every country by September 2022, the United States (US) has unveiled a new six-point global action plan to tackle the “biggest barriers left” in the battle against the pandemic.
The plan, announced by US secretary of state Antony J Blinken, involves six lines of effort. This includes first, increasing access to vaccines and addressing last mile delivery issues; two, strengthening the supply chain for vaccines and other critical supplies such as syringes, test kits and treatments; three, addressing information gaps that lead to low confidence in vaccines by tailoring messages for local audiences and pushing back against disinformation; four, providing more support to health care workers; five, making it easier to access treatments and therapeutics; and six, strengthening global health security for the next emergency by ensuring sustainable financing for pandemic preparedness and response.
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At a virtual Covid-19 small group minister meeting, Blinken said that a recent analysis found that while nearly 80% of people are vaccinated in upper, middle, and high-income countries, the number fell to less than 11% in low-income countries.
“And last month, WHO warned that nearly 90 countries from around the world are not on track to reach the 70% goal. That means billions of people remain vulnerable to Covid, and the world remains vulnerable to new variants, which may be even more lethal and transmissible than the ones we’ve experienced so far.”
Blinken said that US will continue to provide vaccine doses through Covax. “To date, we’ve delivered over 435 million safe, effective vaccines free of charge with no political strings attached as part of our overall commitment to donate 1.2 billion doses by the end of the year. This includes our latest donation of 5 million Johnson & Johnson doses to the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust,” he said.
He also added that the US was committed to staying involved in all six lines of effort and playing a “lead coordinating role on bolstering supply chain resilience and strengthening global health security”.
Blinken also cited Uganda – where in early November, only 14% received their first dose, but by the end of December, this number increased to 47% -- as an example of how working collaboratively could solve problems.