Facilitation Council of ACT-A important to fight COVID-19: Vietnamese diplomat hinh anh 1The Facilitation Council of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) as it will help step up the development and equitable distribution of  COVID-19 vaccines. (Photo: VNA)

Geneva (VNA) - Vietnam hailed the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s initiative to set up the Facilitation Council of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) as it will help step up the development and equitable distribution of vaccines and technologies in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, said Ambassador Le Thi Tuyet Mai, head of the Permanent Mission of Vietnam to the UN, WTO and other international organisations in Geneva.

At the first meeting of the council on September 10, Mai thanked the WHO and the European Mission for inviting Vietnam to attend the event as the ASEAN Chair in 2020.

She went on by highlighting ASEAN and Vietnam’s recent efforts in response to the coronavirus outbreak, and affirming the member states’ commitments to enhancing solidarity and international cooperation to fight the pandemic, particularly activities of the Facilitation Council of the ATC-A so as to promote equitable access to vaccines and tools responding to the pandemic as well as post-pandemic recovery.

The council was established on September 10 with 34 members, comprising several international organisations, representative countries like Vietnam as the ASEAN Chair and Singapore as representative for the small states forum, and nine initial sponsors - the UK, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Germany, Italy, Norway, Japan, France and Spain, and eight countries forming markets for COVID-19 tools, including India, Brazil, the Republic of Korea, the US, Indonesia, South Africa, Russia, and China.

Planning to operate in 18 months, the council will work to promote international collaboration, mobilise support and necessary resources to accelerate the development, scale-up and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics for all health systems.

Its first meeting was held on the same day to adjust ACT-A’s plan as a global solution to end the COVID-19 crisis, and recover global medical system and growth.

Launched at the end of April 2020, the ACT-A brings together governments, scientists, businesses, civil societies, and philanthropists and global health organisations (the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, CEPI, FIND, Gavi, The Global Fund, Unitaid, Wellcome, the WHO, the World Bank and Global Financing Facility).

ACT-A's goal is to protect health systems and restore societies and economies by accelerating development, equitable allocation and scaled up delivery of 2 billion doses of vaccines by the end of 2021, 245 million courses of therapeutics by mid-2021, and 500 million tests for mid-income countries by mid-2021, besides providing personal protective gears and ventilators for countries in need.

Some 38 billion USD is needed for the ACT-A; however, only 2.7 billion USD has been mobilised so far. Currently, Canada and France are the largest sponsors or the programme./.