Letter: World leaders urged to boost vaccine availability

The world is at a perilous and urgent moment in the Covid-19 pandemic. The Delta
variant has spread rapidly to more than 130 countries, demonstrating that we are
fighting a virus that doesn’t respect borders and advances rapidly across
continents.


The best way to prevent further catastrophe is to dramatically decrease worldwide
cases and slow transmission of the virus through widespread global vaccination,
combined with other public health measures. However, inequitable access to highquality
vaccines and capacity to administer them is prolonging the pandemic and
destabilising economies and societies around the world.


Therefore, we call on world leaders to convene a global summit during this year’s
UN General Assembly and commit to actions to make 7bn doses of high-quality
vaccines available before the end of 2021 and an additional 7bn doses by mid-
2022; ensure that every country is ready to implement equitable vaccination
programmes at scale by the end of this year; and vaccinate 70 per cent of the
world’s population by mid-2022. People everywhere should also have equitable
access to tests, therapies and other proven interventions so lives can be saved using
all Covid-19 tools.


A global pandemic needs a global plan of attack. The summit should secure the
commitments and actions needed to close the vaccine supply, financing and
capacity gaps. Very soon there will be enough supply of high-quality vaccines to
assure that all countries can meet the needs of their own citizens and also engage
in a global effort to vaccinate everyone. Urgent actions must be taken to increase
countries’ distribution and delivery capabilities, which are poised to become the
key constraint in the race between vaccines and variants.


That is why we need a comprehensive response to the current crisis, which will also
strengthen health systems and preparedness for the next pandemic.
We are in a race against time. Without immediate action, there will be millions
more infections and deaths, and new variants could emerge and pierce vaccine
immunity. We, the undersigned, urge world leaders to align on a common
framework for urgent global action by all governments, and private sector leaders,
to end the pandemic — everywhere.

Pascal Lamy
President of the Paris Peace Forum and former director-general of the WTO

Link to the letter of FT with all the co-signataires