SPAIN: The Council of Ministers has signed a solidarity plan on Tuesday for universal access to vaccinations, the main aim of which is to contribute to the vaccination of a significant percentage of the world’s population by backing swift access to the vaccine for countries and people with the greatest difficulties in gaining such access.
Through this plan, jointly drawn up by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Health, a series of priority groups are determined for vaccination, including the refugee population, displaced persons and asylum seekers, particularly in humanitarian contexts, together with partner countries of Spanish Cooperation where access by the priority 20% of the population is not guaranteed.
Spain takes on the commitment to be guided by a list of 10 principles in undertaking the vaccination process, including fair, universal and affordable access to the vaccines, solidarity, a comprehensive process including strengthening health systems and multilateralism in its response. Furthermore, responsibilities are clearly defined and transparency, monitoring and accountability mechanisms are established.
Ways to channel contributions
In order to channel Spain’s contribution, a series of routes are established: the COVAX route, which will be the main mechanism for the distribution of the vaccines; the European Union Donation Mechanism route; through United Nations agencies under the OCHA and ECHO routes; through humanitarian contexts (including those of special interest to Spain); through multilateral and regional organisations, and through direct bilateral allocation. A strategic reserve is also established for unforeseen needs.
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Besides, support will be offered to countries in the preparation and distribution processes (through the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation), since the preparation of national vaccination strategies is an essential prerequisite for vaccination campaigns in each country.
Spain is one of the co-leaders of the ACT-Accelerator, the pillar given over to vaccines is structured through the COVAX-Facility, an initiative co-headed up by GAVI (the Vaccine Alliance) and CEPI (the Coalition for Epidemics Preparedness Innovations) – the main aim of which is to speed up the development and production of vaccines against COVID-19 and guarantee access to all countries to the vaccine in a fair and equal fashion.
As part of the COVAX-Facility, Spain has approved the donation of 50 million euros to the Advanced Market Commitment (AMC) through GAVI. Spain has also approved a financial contribution to CEPI for the sum of 75 million euros. In addition, as an EU Member State and as part of what is known as “Team Europe”, Spain is a participant in the EU contributions to the COVAX-Facility
Global need for vaccination
The initial target set by the World Health Organization is to vaccinate all healthcare personnel as a priority, as well as the vulnerable population in all countries around the world, which corresponds to at least 20% of the world’s population, equivalent to vaccinating more than 1.5 billion people. Of this amount, more than 260 million would be in Africa and 130 million in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The goal initially proposed by the European Union would be for 5% of the vaccines initially acquired to be shared with humanitarian contexts as soon as they are received by the European Union.