UNITED NATIONS, March 26 (Xinhua) — The Political Declaration on Equitable Global Access to COVID-19 Vaccines, which was drafted by Lebanon’s ambassador to the United Nations Amal Mudallali, has won the support of 181 member states, a UN spokesman said on Friday.
Brenden Varma, spokesperson for UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Volkan Bozkir, told Xinhua that the declaration, aimed at providing equitable access to the coronavirus vaccines across the world, was not “adopted” as it is not an official General Assembly document, but was “signed on to” by more than 180 member states.
The initiative reportedly aimed to raise awareness of the need to work together to defeat the pandemic while raising awareness of the low availability of vaccines to low and middle-income countries.
“In this regard, we welcome the efforts of countries which have donated COVID-19 vaccines and actively encourage further sharing of vaccine doses from all countries in a position to do so, to low- and middle-income countries and other countries in need, particularly through COVAX (COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access), including on the basis of the WHO (World Health Organization) allocation framework, for fair access and equitable allocation of COVID-19 health products,” the declaration read.
The declaration acknowledged the initiatives undertaken by the G20 since the outbreak of the coronavirus, and it encouraged more collaboration with the world body and the international community to “upscale support and funding for vaccine production and distribution.”
Despite initiatives and international agreements, there is an uneven distribution of COVID-19 vaccines worldwide. The declaration pledges to treat vaccination efforts as a “global public good” by ensuring equitable access to vaccines for all, “with COVAX being the appropriate mechanism to guarantee it.”
Stockpiling vaccines was condemned in the declaration, and member states were implored to up their support for COVAX contracts with vaccine producers rather than strictly look at bilateral contracts between nations.
The president of the 75th session of the UNGA, Volkan Bozkir, applauded the commitment pledged by the international community to increase production, distribution and access to COVID-19 vaccines.
In his closing remarks at the informal meeting of the UNGA plenary on the Political Declaration on Equitable Global Access to COVID-19 Vaccines, the UNGA president hailed the commitments pledged by member states, including that to forging robust partnerships “to increase production, distribution and access to COVID-19 vaccines.”
Bozkir echoed other commitments of the member states including treating COVID-19 vaccination as a global public good by ensuring affordable, equitable and fair access to vaccines for all; tackling misinformation and addressing vaccine hesitancy; and strengthening vaccine preparedness, including ensuring efficient supply chains and logistics, to overcome challenges related to vaccine storage, distribution, and management. Enditem