To complete vaccination in all countries of the world, including the poorest ones, another 6 billion doses will be needed. The drafts of the final document are ready, but the last filings are missing. The goal is to sign a “Rome Pact” in which the health ministers of the countries of G20, gathered at the Capitoline Museums (many in attendance, some remotely) will undertake to pursue a policy of redistribution of anti Covid vaccines that reaches the whole planet, including developing areas.
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This is a necessary action not only for humanitarian and equity reasons, but also because from a pandemic – the Minister of Health, Roberto Speranza, promoter of the document always repeats – the countries of the world can only emerge all together. Put simply: you can protect rich nations, but if the virus continues to circulate in continents such as Africa or parts of Asia, the possibility of a variant developing that can bypass existing vaccines is high. We have seen it with the Delta in India: the Asian giant today has reached a fair percentage of the vaccinated population, but until a few months ago it was far behind and this caused the infection to explode, with the mutation in the Delta variant much more contagious. “We must vaccinate everyone, no one must be left behind”, repeats Speranza, explaining the basic philosophy of the document which will have to summarize the meaning of the work of the ministers of health expected at the G20 in Piazza del Campidoglio, where very strict security measures have been organized, both for the importance of the guests and because improvised no-vax protests are feared. Speranza also spoke yesterday with the Spanish (Carolina Darias) and Argentine (Carla Vizzotti) ministers of health: “Only by working internationally can we guarantee a more equitable global distribution of vaccines for Covid 19”. The meeting was attended by a delegation from Gavi, the global vaccine alliance that plays a role parallel to that of Covax on a global scale, which aims precisely at a redistribution of vaccine doses.
But why is there talk of a Rome Pact on Covid? Today, after an introductory appointment dedicated to mental health at the time of Covid which took place on Friday, the G20 Health will begin in the capital and will end tomorrow with the final press conference. Italy is president on duty, organizes ministerial meetings on various issues and today and tomorrow will be the turn of health. Among the expected participants, also the director of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the US Secretary of Health, Xavier Becerra, the UK minister, Sajid Javid, and the German minister Jens Spahn. Speranza recalls: “The three priorities of the Italian presidency (people, planet, prosperity) indicate how our well-being cannot be separated from the protection of the environment in which we live.” Three sessions of work. The first concerns the impact of Covid 19 on the sustainable development goals, the second will discuss how to prevent the pandemics of the future, the third – explain the organizers – “will address the issue of identifying the best possible global strategies to support development and fair access to vaccines, medicines and diagnostics ». And here we come to the crux of the final document that addresses the problem of vaccine shortages in the poorest countries while, paradoxically, the richest ones have to fight against fake news and no-vax. The numbers of Our World in data explain well what is happening on the planet: up to now, 5.44 billion doses of vaccine have been administered in the world, every day we are about 35.6 million.
This has made it possible to provide protection against the coronavirus with at least one injection to 40 percent of the world population. Very many, if we think of the emergency situation that was being experienced in 2020 without a glimmer of light being seen. But that 40 percent is not spread in the same way on all continents, so much so that in low-income countries just 1.8 percent of the population has received the vaccination. In other words: if you look at the map of the world, the USA, China, the European Union, the rich Gulf countries and part of Latin America have already reached a significant percentage of the population, Russia and India are still behind but more for cultural reasons. than economic, while almost all of Africa is still unprotected. The document of the Rome Pact will explain: the health emergency will not be over until we are all out of it, it is necessary to ensure the widest possible access to vaccines by the world population, strengthening the existing collaboration mechanisms, with donations of doses to meet the most immediate needs. This is a slippery topic: Countries like Italy now prefer to use only mRna vaccines. Italy will no longer administer those with adenovirus and will donate them to poor countries. Told like this, it doesn’t sound great.
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