WFPHA Press Release: Coalition of International NGOs Call for Equitable Access for Vaccines and Treatment during COVID-19 Pandemic

Around the world, governments are struggling to find ways to work together and control the spread of COVID-19. The virus does not recognize national boundaries. Rather, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated long-standing health disparities between and within countries born from social, economic, and political inequity. This crisis has challenged the global resilience of our health and long-term care systems and workforce. The World Health Organization released a call to action through their ‘Vaccine Equity Declaration’, which implores leaders to prioritize vaccine equity.  Many organizations have taken important steps to spread awareness about COVID-19 vaccine equity and mobilize their members to respond. This is not enough. To move forward, there must be a greater global effort to foster collaboration between cross-national organizations and innovate solutions that leave no one behind.

On February 11, 2021, the World Federation of Public Health Associations hosted a historic meeting to initiate a coalition amongst leaders from international NGOs who share a common interest in equitable access for vaccines and treatment during COVID-19.

The organizations agreed to work together to build and sustain equity in global public health through increased advocacy for social protection and social development in vulnerable communities. Moreover, leaders expressed the need for an environmentally conscious and safe way to develop, distribute, and deliver vaccines, as this will also help reduce inequity following the pandemic by ensuring we do not exacerbate adverse climate effects. The Coalition is committed to engaging with other organizations, governments, and key stakeholders to achieve a coordinated response to the pandemic. The organizations will dedicate themselves to continue compiling resources, sharing evidence-based best practices, and using their collective voice to advocate for those who are disproportionately harmed by the pandemic, including chronically ill patients, individuals lacking access to health care services and medication, and marginalized communities.

Therefore, together we call on the World Health Assembly, the G20, every government, and all organizations that engage in public health, social policy, and advocacy to make the ethical choice now for the health and the economic well-being of all populations globally, especially the most vulnerable — leaving no one behind.

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EFPC is a signatory