Health ministers from the world's major economies met at the G20 summit in Rome to discuss coordinating strategies in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.
The two-day summit ended on Monday as health ministers declared they will reinvest in national health services, guarantee the universality of care and begin an effort to extend coronavirus vaccines to the poorest countries in the world with immediate effect.
Italy’s Health Minister Roberto Speranza said that "vaccine distribution needs to be fairer" adding "there is a political commitment to distribute vaccines to the whole world".
During the first day of talks on Sunday, ministers agreed that increasing equitable distribution of coronavirus vaccines to countries in need was critical to ending the pandemic.
"The international community must do more against this pandemic, focusing on supporting national health systems. Vaccine solidarity must also become a geopolitical necessity".
Speranza also called for a "Rome pact" on vaccine distribution, adding that vaccines must be produced everywhere, not just in some territories.
"Only by working together can we guarantee a fairer distribution of COVID-19 vaccines,'' the Italian minister said.
One of the participants at the G20 conference, EU Commissioner for Health Stella Kyriakides, also mentioned the requests for suspension of patents.
"This is the best way to leave no one behind and encourage the increase of a global production," she said.
Europe has already exported hundreds of millions of doses, but some nations continue to lack vaccines.
Last month WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said COVID booster shots should be delayed. Instead, he said, priority should be given to raising vaccination rates in countries where only 1% or 2% of the population has been inoculated.
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