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Italy urges global COVID-19 vaccination campaign

21 maggio 2021 | 19.02
LETTURA: 1 minuti

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The world must be vaccinated swiftly against Coronavirus and poor countries should receive more doses and help to make their own vaccines, while a temporary waiver on patents can boost global access to jabs, Italy said on Friday.

"We need to vaccinate the world against the Coronavirus and to do so quickly," premier Mario Draghi said Friday in opening remarks to the Global Health Summit in Rome.

"While we prepare for the next pandemic, our priority must always be to make sure we all get over the current one together," Draghi stated.

"The global crisis is not over. We must act quickly, otherwise the human, economic and social costs are at risk of rising significantly."

In Europe "18 months on, we are starting to see the end of this tragedy", Draghi said.

"But in other areas of the world, the pandemic shows no sign of letting up. The differences in vaccination rates are shocking," he said.

Almost 1.5 billion vaccine doses have been administered worldwide in more than 180 countries, but of these just 0.3% were in low-income countries and almost 85% in the wealthiest countries, Draghi noted.

The disparities in vaccination rates are "unacceptable" but also a threat given the danger to health posed by new variants of Coronavirus as the respiratory virus travels the earth, Draghi said.

"We must ensure that more vaccines are available for poor countries," he said.

The European Union has exported around 200 million Coronavirus vaccine doses to 90 countries - around half of the bloc's production, Draghi stated. "All states must do the same," he said.

Draghi urged vaccine export bans to be lifted, especially to the poorest countries.

"We must also help low-income countries including in Africa to produce their own vaccines," he said.

Italy is "open" to a temporary suspension of patents on COVID-19 vaccines,"provided it is targeted, time-limited and does not jeopardise innovation by pharmaceutical companies," Draghi stated.

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