I commend the Government of Germany and GAVI for organizing this important summit.
This gathering is a critical reminder that the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over.
We’re seeing 1.5 million new cases each day.
Large outbreaks are spreading in Asia.
A new wave is sweeping across Europe.
And some countries are reporting their highest death rates since the start of the pandemic.
Omicron is a startling reminder of how quickly COVID-19 can mutate and spread — especially in the absence of high vaccination coverage.
Some high-income countries are preparing for their second booster doses.
And yet one third of humanity remains unvaccinated.
This is a brutal indictment of our deeply unequal world.
It’s also a prime breeding ground for new variants…more deaths…and increased human and economic misery.
The next variant is not a question of “if.”
It’s a question of “when.”
We are far from our target of every country reaching 70 per cent vaccination coverage by the middle of this year.
And with new variants emerging every four months on average, time is of the essence.
Supply is not the issue.
Manufacturers are producing 1.5 billion doses per month.
And thanks to its remarkable procurement, shipment and delivery system, the COVAX Facility and its Advance Market Commitment mechanism has managed to deliver 1.2 billion doses so far to countries in need.
This proves that progress is possible.
But the window is closing fast.
Governments and pharmaceutical companies need to work better together to deliver vaccines to every person, everywhere — not just in wealthy countries.
This means countries fulfilling and accelerating dose-sharing and donation commitments to COVAX with better quality of supply.
And it means having strong national vaccine-delivery systems at the ready — including efforts to counter disinformation and get vaccines into arms.
I also call on countries to commit new funding for the ACT-Accelerator and COVAX this year.
And we need to help all countries prepare for future pandemics by multiplying the number of countries able to locally produce tests, vaccines and treatments.
So we can save lives quickly and equitably when the next variant or pandemic strikes.
And ultimately, build stronger health systems that are accessible to all.
Investments today will not only save lives.
They will strengthen overwhelmed health systems for the future, and help all countries move closer to sustainable recovery.
The COVID-19 pandemic is not over.
But it can be.
Let’s end it together.