NEW DELHI: A four-day summit of Global South countries, organised by Progressive International on vaccine internationalism, concluded on Monday with partner nations committing to share Covid-19 vaccine technology and production.“A new international health order is in formation,” Progressive International declared at the completion of the summit in which the national governments of Argentina, Mexico, Bolivia, Cuba and Venezuela, and regional governments of Kisumu, Kenya and Kerala participated.
Apart from political leaders from 20 countries, healthcare workers, vaccine manufacturers and public health experts too participated in the summit and made concrete commitments to advance vaccine internationalism.The meeting was an emergency response to vaccine apartheid as it noted that 85 per cent of vaccines administered worldwide have been in high- and upper-middle-income countries.
Only 0.3 per cent of doses have been administered in low-income countries so far, noted the participants, highlighting that at this pace the pandemic will continue to rip through the global South, leaving the entire world highly vulnerable, for another 57 years.Commitments were made in five key areas vital for speeding up the production and distribution of medicine to end the pandemic which included open collaboration over Covid-19 vaccine technologies and solidarity prices for vaccines.
Other areas in which the member countries pledged to collaborate included sharing of regulatory capacity to approve Covid-19 vaccines for domestic use, pooling manufacturing capacity to ramp up the vaccine, and medical equipment production.Also, there will be collective disobedience to challenge the big pharma monopoly enforced through the World Trade Organisation, the members stressed.
Hailing the commitments, the summit coordinator and cabinet member for PI, Varsha Gandikota-Nellutla, said: “It is desperately needed to overcome the vaccine apartheid which threatens our very survival, calls the South’s sovereignty into question and risks further murderous mutations of this virus.
“A concerted effort from states, institutions, companies and people is needed to move from nationalism to internationalism, from competition to cooperation, from charity to solidarity. Over the course of this summit, we saw participants take these first bold steps, putting national resources to collective benefit, based on the principles of sovereignty, solidarity, and the universal right to life.”