Out of the Tunnel? – Rich Countries Pledge More COVAX Funding and ‚New International Approach‘ to Fight COVID

Written by | Monday, June 7th, 2021

The health ministers from the G7 countries that are meeting in the United Kingdom today (3 May) will agree on a “new international approach” to prevent diseases spreading, since three-fifths of all infections jump from animals to humans, the British government said in a statement. The talks hosted by the UK are focusing on improving the early detection of animal-borne diseases and expanding poorer nations’ access to COVID-19 vaccines. Ministers from the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States will pledge at the meeting to “combat future health threats by working together to identify early warning signs from animals and the environment”.
The United Nations-backed program to provide COVID-19 vaccines for low and middle-income countries has secured nearly €1.97 billion for the COVAX vaccine-sharing plan and also donations of some 54 million doses of COVID vaccines, bringing COVAX’s total to more than 132 million doses. The COVAX program has so far distributed some 77 million doses to 127 countries. The chairman of the GAVI vaccine alliance, Jose Manuel Barroso, said the summit brought the total contributions for the procurement of the jab to nearly $9.6 billion. Austria, Finland, Luxembourg, Spain and Sweden were also among countries to announce new donations.
Meanwhile, infection rates across Europe continue to drop, including in Germany that slowly emerges from eight months of lockdown, but whose politicians are heeding caution over a possible variant-driven resurgence at the end of the summer. The seven-day incidence of infections per 100,000 people over seven days dropped to 34.1 on Thursday (3 May), with 4,640 new infections reported by Germany’s disease control agency, the Robert Koch Institute. Some 53 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the country so far, and 44.6% of the population has had at least one shot. In the United Kingdom, which has recorded Europe’s highest coronavirus death toll, no new daily COVID-19 deaths for the first time since March 2020. This milestone reached in the UK on Tuesday (1 May) spurred hope that the impact of the pandemic was easing, but concerns simmered over a rise in cases linked to the Delta variant first identified in India.
Three out of four British adults have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, according to the UK’s Department of Health. In France, teenagers aged 12-18 will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccination from 15 June, President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday (2 May). The announcement comes as France hit a vaccination milestone on Wednesday, with 50% of the adult population inoculated with a first dose. Also teenagers elsewhere in Europe, including Romania and Italy, have also started to be vaccinated after EU regulator authorised Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for use in children as young as 12 last week. But the vaccination of children in rich countries while many parts of the still struggle to inoculate older and more vulnerable people has sparked controversy.

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