Independent Panel Calls COVID-19 “The Last Pandemic”
The Independent Pandemic Preparedness and Response Panel called for COVID-19 to be “the last pandemic” the world faces. The panel is made up of 13 people from different countries, who are experts in infectious diseases, health policies, economics, youth issues, and the well-being of women and girls.
Last May, the group called on the international community to “end the pandemic” of the new coronavirus through the immediate application of a series of recommendations aimed at improving the availability and manufacturing capacity of vaccines, and that public health measures that have proven to be effective are applied in all countries.
The panel report contains three recommendations. The first is that high-income countries with sufficient vaccine stockpiles for their populations commit to providing the 92 low- and middle-income countries that are part of the COVAX initiative with at least 1 billion doses of vaccines, at least up to September 2021.
The second recommendation is that the major vaccine-producing countries and the companies that manufacture them meet together with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Trade Organization to agree on the voluntary commercial licensing of vaccines. This is within a maximum period of three months, otherwise, they adopt an exemption from intellectual property rights.
Finally, the panel noted that the Group of Seven (a group that includes 7 of the world’s largest economies) should commit to providing 60% of the resources of the Access Accelerator to Tools against COVID-19 (ACT Accelerator) for vaccines, diagnostic tests, and treatments, and to strengthen health systems.
Future Events Must be Prevented
The panel also recommended that governments and the international community immediately adopt a set of reforms to transform the global pandemic preparedness and response system and prevent a similar event in the future.
For this objective, the agency considered that it is necessary to take measures such as: establishing a World Council on Health Threats, establishing a new global epidemiological surveillance system (based on transparency), investing now in national preparedness, targeting and strengthening the authority and WHO financing, create an international financing mechanism for pandemics and that heads of state adopt, at a world summit, a political stance on these issues.
In AHF, we promote the Vaccinate Our World (VOW) campaign, calling on the governments of the main economies in the world to finance the global vaccination effort, to accelerate the speed of immunization and prevent the appearance of more aggressive variants of SARS-CoV2 that might escape the immunity of existing vaccines, which would unnecessarily lengthen the pandemic, meaning millions of more deaths. We also call on governments and pharmaceutical companies to suspend patents on COVID-19 vaccines during the pandemic. Learn more about our campaign and join.