The request was made in a joint statement by the International Forum on COVID-19 Vaccine Cooperation issued in China.
The statement was signed by Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, the Philippines, Serbia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan at the first meeting of the International Forum on COVID-19 Vaccine Cooperation.
The joint statement recognized that solidarity and cooperation are key to fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic, a challenge confronting all countries in the world.
“We must champion the vision of building a global community of health for all, put people and their lives first and make concerted and coordinated efforts to address the challenge. We recognize the importance of COVID-19 vaccination as a global public good, and call upon all parties to step up efforts to make vaccines more accessible and affordable in developing countries, including making utmost efforts to provide vaccines for developing countries, LDCs in particular,” the joint statement said.
They also called upon all countries, in cooperation with the relevant stakeholders, to increase national, regional and global capacities, carry out vaccine research and development as well as production in line with strict standards according to the World Health Organization (WHO) regulations, and provide safe, effective and high-quality COVID-19 vaccines.
“We support the WHO in promoting access to COVID-19 vaccines through the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator and its COVAX Facility, encourage capable vaccine-producing countries to provide more vaccines to COVAX, and call upon multilateral financial institutions and other international organizations to provide inclusive financial support for vaccine procurement and for strengthening production capabilities in developing countries,” the statement said.
They also underlined the importance of vaccine multilateralism and called upon countries to enhance international cooperation mechanisms and collaboration, reject vaccine nationalism, lift export restrictions on relevant vaccines and raw materials, support enhanced cooperation on vaccine research and development, production, equitable distribution and ensure cross-border flows of vaccines.
“We call upon countries to encourage the ongoing consideration on possible waiver of intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines at the World Trade Organization, stressing the need for flexibility, pragmatism and a sense of urgency. We encourage countries to further strengthen international cooperation on vaccine production capacity by conducting joint research and development, authorized production and technology transfers, and continue to adopt concrete measures to raise the vaccine production capacity of developing countries,” the joint statement said.
They also emphasized the scientific nature and importance of World Health Organization Emergency Use List, and called on governments, while conducting study on easing national entry regulations for the vaccinated, to follow the principle of fairness, equity, science and non-discrimination, respect the suggestions proposed by the WHO based on this principle, and strengthen communication and coordination on vaccine certification and regulation policies.
The countries that signed the joint statement said that they are determined to take further joint actions to engage companies and all stakeholders and support their participation in international cooperation efforts on increasing vaccine production and distribution, jointly promote fair, affordable, timely, universal and equitable distribution and strengthen local production of vaccines around the world, and welcome more partners to come aboard, including through transfer of technology. (Colombo Gazette)