Concept Note and Programme
The COVID-19 pandemic changed the world and had cruel and devastating impacts on individuals, societies and economies. However, due to strong global cooperation we also saw the development and production of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines at an unprecedented pace, giving the world new hope.
We must now work together to ensure global access to vaccines. Vaccination is not a race between countries but a race against time!
Multilateral approaches, global cooperation and solidarity are our only chance to defeat the virus everywhere, but also an opportunity to have a sustainable global recovery by building back better.
The creation of the COVAX facility early last year paved the way for assuring equal access worldwide to COVID-19 vaccines. To date, 191 countries have joined COVAX including 92 lower-income countries that will receive safe vaccines free of charge through the Gavi COVAX Advanced Market Commitment (AMC). On 24 February, long days and nights of hard work finally showed tangible results on the ground with the first delivery of COVAX vaccines in Ghana. In the last few weeks, more than 29 million doses in 46 countries have already been distributed and the number of countries and vaccine doses delivered increases every day.
We are further encouraged by the latest news that shows that COVAX is on track to deliver at least 2 billion doses by the end of the year, including at least 1.3 billion doses to 92 lower-income economies.
Ghana has succeeded in a race against time to have all the conditions in place to administer the vaccine to the first priority categories of its population. Ghana’s experience in preparing and organizing the vaccine roll-out is full of lessons that only wait to be shared...
Ghana’s example also shows that vaccines are not all. Countries need to prepare for the rollout, vaccines need to be shipped while safeguarding fragile cold chains, and the population needs to be informed to counter misinformation and tackle vaccine hesitancy. Vaccination plays a vital part but strong health systems are also needed in the fight against the pandemic and beyond. We need to acknowledge the critical importance of the development and access to diagnosis and treatments in a global approach - vaccines alone will not be enough in the fight against the pandemic.
International solidarity has been embedded in the EU’s vaccine strategy from day one. This is why the EU has been leading the multilateral response to fight the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure global and equitable access to vaccines, tests and treatments and is a strong supporter of the COVAX Facility of the WHO. The EU is committed to ensuring universal access to vaccines and COVAX is best placed to help us reach this goal. The EU was amongst the first to help create COVAX and is contributing 2.2 billion EUR from Team Europe. Through substantial contributions to COVAX and large upfront investments, the EU contributed to the rapid development and increase of production capacity of vaccine developers to ensure swift delivery to everyone. Moreover a joint EU mechanism for sharing vaccine doses with other countries, including developing countries via COVAX, is already being developed.
In addition, Team Europe has mobilised a global recovery package of 40 billion EUR to help partners across the world address immediate health emergency and humanitarian needs, strengthen health systems and support economic recovery and social protection.
This event aims to shed light on how COVAX works and to listen to countries’ experiences in the fight against the pandemic. Participants from the EU, Ghana, the WHO, Gavi, and UNICEF will share their knowledge, views, and experiences.
Opening by (4 min)
Mr. Silvio Gonzato, Ambassador, Deputy Head of the EU Mission to the UN in New York
Mr. Daniel Okayteye, Charge d’Affaires, Mission of Ghana to the UN in New York
Keynote addresses by (30 min)
Hon. Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, Minister of Health, Republic of Ghana - tbc
Mr. Martin Seychell, Deputy Director General for International Partnerships, European Commission
H.E. Francisco Duarte Lopes, Ambassador, Mission of Portugal to the United Nations
Dr. Bruce Aylward, Senior Advisor to the Director-General, Lead of Access to Covid-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator Hub, WHO
COVAX at work by (30 min)
Ghana – Health Ministry representative - tbc
Ms. Aurélia Nguyen, Managing Director of the Office of the COVAX Facility
Mr. Aboubacar Kampo, Health Director, UNICEF
Angola - Health Ministry representative - tbc
Respondents (10 min)
H.E. Ms. Fatima Kyari Mohammed, Permanent Observer, Mission of the African Union to the United Nations - tbc
Ms. Mara Burr, Director of Multilateral Relations, Office of Global Affairs, United States Department of Health and Human Services
H.E. Mr. Sovann Ke, Ambassador, Mission of Cambodia to the United Nations
Q&A session (15 min)
Concluding remarks (3 min)
Gunter Sautter, Ambassador, Deputy Head of the German Mission to the UN
Total duration: 90 minutes