PRESS RELEASE 057
Spain takes part in fifth meeting of ACT-A Initiative to speed up research, production and global supply of vaccines

Historical achievement of COVAX Initiative – pillar of ACT-A

23/03/2021

The State Secretary for International Cooperation, Ángeles Moreno Bau, has taken part today, Tuesday, on behalf of Spain, in the fifth meeting of the Facilitation Council of the multilateral initiative known as the Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A), which seeks to rapidly develop and roll out vaccines, diagnoses and treatments against the pandemic.


The Government of Spain forms part of the Facilitation Council and has taken part in the four meetings held to date. This fifth meeting takes place following the presentation of the Strategy and Budget for 2021. Spain has committed 125 million euros to ACT-A, together with the contribution made through the European Union, which was recently doubled to 1 billion euros.


The Secretary-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom, and the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Constantine Kyriakakis, co-hosted this session where they evaluated short-term actions to speed up the production, supply and pace of global vaccinations, as well as the extension of diagnostic tests and treatments, such as oxygen therapy and dexamethasone.


In the race against the virus and the challenge of overcoming the obstacles to the fair and speedy distribution of vaccines, the Facilitation Council highlighted the historic achievement of the COVAX mechanism – one of the pillars of the ACT-A - which managed to distribute the first doses to low- and medium-income countries in Africa, Latin America and the Middle East as from 24 February.


To date, COVAX has supplied more than 30 million vaccines to 54 countries, with the aim of reaching 140 countries in the coming weeks and 2.01 billion doses this year, thanks to agreements with various pharmaceutical companies (Astra Zeneca, Novavax, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi).


GOOD OUTLOOK


During the meeting, the State Secretary for International Cooperation took part in the interactive debate of the segment given over to specific challenges and actions to focus on to speed up the supply of vaccines. Ángeles Moreno Bau argued that the distribution of vaccines should be carried out according to objective criteria based on the epidemiological situation of destination countries. She also conveyed Spain’s support for the creation of a buffer or reserve of 5% of the COVAX doses for high-risk populations in humanitarian contexts and for groups of refugees.


The ACT-A was launched in April 2020 as an alliance that groups together the main health agencies in the world. During its first year, it has ensured that the vaccination process in developing countries only began 12 weeks later than in high income countries. It has also validated rapid diagnostic tests and new low-cost oral medication for those countries with fewer resources.


The ACT-A has also backed the research of the first curative therapy against Covid-19 – dexamethasone - guaranteeing 2.9 million of these treatments with a value of some 500 million dollars. The G7 leaders renewed their commitment to provide support for the ACT-A as a global solution in the fight against Covid-19 and to bring an end to the pandemic.


 

Despite the positive outlook, the Facilitation Council of the ACT-A Initiative addressed the financial gap in complying with the targets set for 2021. The World Health Organization warns that an additional 22.1 billion dollars will be needed.


-NON OFFICIAL TRANSLATION-​​

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