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PM urges int'l community to help all countries reach vaccine targets


PM urges int'l community to help all countries reach vaccine targets

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday (Apr 8) called upon the international community to increase their contributions to help some countries, which are still far from vaccination targets, reach the target.

"Unfortunately, there are some countries that still remain far from achieving their vaccination targets. These countries deserve special attention and support from the international community," she said.

A pre-recorded video message was broadcast at the virtual "2022 Gavi COVAX AMC Summit: Break COVID Now" organised by Germany and GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance.

The leader-level meeting was held aimed at helping raise at least US$5.2 billion in urgent financial support for COVAX, including US$ 3.8 billion in donor funding for lower-income countries supported by the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (Gavi COVAX AMC), local media reported.

Sheikh Hasina called upon all stakeholders to work together to help reach vaccination targets in all countries.

"I also urge the development partners to increase their contributions and vaccines to COVAX AMC," she said.

She, however, ensured that her country is ready to do its part to ensure vaccine equity and committed to working always with GAVI and Covax.

The PM said that the COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the need for international cooperation to respond effectively to public health emergencies.

"The COVAX Facility has offered us a global platform for the purpose. We must support this platform with necessary resources and expertise to deal with future pandemics," she said.

She reminded that the impact of the pandemic could have been devastating in Bangladesh if we did not have a strong healthcare system. 

"Throughout the pandemic, we were able to keep the infection at tolerable level and now we see a drastic fall in the infection," she continued.

So far, Bangladesh has vaccinated more than 90% of its target population at free of cost, she said. 

The premier said, "Our longstanding partnership with GAVI has been critical in achieving this success. We look forward to continued support from the COVAX AMC mechanism."

"I firmly believe that vaccines should be considered a global public good," she said. 

The virtual event was co-chaired by German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Svenja Schulze and Gavi Board Chair. Jos, Manuel Barroso.

Almost 1.2 billion funded and donated doses have now been provided through the Gavi COVAX AMC to lower-income countries and territories around the world, and a rapid scale up in deliveries through the end of 2021 has helped narrow the vaccine equity gap while providing countries with critical longer-term visibility on supply – but significant challenges still remain. 

Hundreds of millions of people, mainly in lower-income countries, remain unvaccinated and unprotected, while the virus continues to evolve in uncertain ways: a major variant has been identified every 4 months, on average, since the pandemic was declared.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, President of Senegal Macky Sall and Chair of Gavi Board Prof. Jos‚ Manuel Barroso delivered statements at the opening session, while Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, Tunisia's Prime Minister Najla Bouden and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres also delivered video messages.

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