WHA 74 – Constituency Statement on agenda item 17 WHO’s work in health emergencies and strengthening preparedness for health emergencies and agenda item 18 mental health preparedness for and response to the COVID-19 pandemic
IFPMA and GSCF, supported by ICBA, welcome the opportunity to make this constituency statement in relation to agenda item 17 on WHO’s work in health emergencies and strengthening preparedness.
Innovative health industries continue to remain at the forefront of the global effort to develop and manufacture tests, therapeutics, preventative tools and vaccines to contain and defeat Sars-CoV-2 and of ensuring these reach people everywhere. This massive and unprecedented effort is moving with tremendous pace. After more than 200 clinical trials and nearly 300 partnerships and collaborations among manufacturers worldwide, COVID vaccine production has increased from zero to 2.2 billion doses by the end of May with an astounding estimate of 11 billion doses by the end of 2021 – enough doses to vaccinate the world’s adult population.
As Dr Tedros has stated, “the private sector has an essential role to play in combating this public health crisis through their expertise, innovation, and resources”.
That said, COVID-19 vaccines currently are not equally reaching all priority populations worldwide. Immediate action must focus on stepping up responsible dose sharing and maximizing production without compromising quality or safety. Global health challenges such as this require truly inclusive cooperation and a redoubling of efforts to ensuring health systems’ resiliency. Manufacturers, governments, and non-governmental organizations must work together to take urgent steps to further address this inequity and the industry recently proposed 5 concrete steps that will deliver in the short-term.
We urge governments, in coordination with the World Trade Organization (WTO), to eliminate all trade and regulatory barriers to export, and to facilitate and expedite the cross-border supply of key raw materials, essential manufacturing materials, medicines and vaccines, and prioritize the movement of skilled vaccine manufacturing workforce.
We call on Member States to ensure that they are ready and able to rapidly deploy available doses and to mitigate the risks to the production and deployment of other vaccines vital to public health worldwide. We also urge governments to guarantee immediate and unhindered access to pathogens and associated information regarding any COVID-19 variants to support the development of new vaccines and treatments.
It is important that the world uses the lessons we have learned during the COVID crisis to make sure we are all better prepared in the future. Industry is committed to delivering preparedness solutions and to contributing our expertise to relevant discussions. We look forward to being included in the design of the potential Pandemic Treaty or other international instrument and in playing a meaningful role in shaping the future so we are stronger together for the next health emergency.