Security Council Delegates Call for Closing Vaccine Equity Gaps in Conflict Zones as Experts Stress Need to Protect Hospitals, Medical Personnel from Hostilities
Representatives of Kenya, Ghana Outline Plans to Build Production Facilities, as Others Reiterate Appeal for Intellectual Property Right Waivers
Rapid action in the next six months, especially in conflict zones, is essential for addressing vaccine equity gaps, the senior United Nations official in charge of global vaccination delivery efforts told the Security Council today.
Ted Chaiban, Global Lead Coordinator for COVID‑19 Vaccine Country Readiness and Delivery — part of the COVAX facility — stressed the importance of strong political leadership and planning in implementing mass vaccination campaigns that can help achieve vaccine equity. In the 34 countries that the COVID‑19 vaccine delivery partnership is focused on, there are many competing health, humanitarian and economic priorities, he noted. Bundling COVID‑19 vaccination with other health and humanitarian interventions, and implementing the “humanitarian buffer” — which acts as a measure of last resort to ensure access to COVID‑19 vaccines — has enabled COVAX to reach vulnerable populations, he reported. However, “the window of opportunity is gradually closing”, he cautioned.
Those who are displaced or living in areas controlled by non-State armed groups are overlooked in public health responses, Esperanza Martinez, Senior Adviser to the Office of the Director-General of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), pointed out. Respect for international humanitarian law is essential for the protection of hospitals and medical personnel, she said, highlighting the pandemic as an opportune moment to strengthen health systems in conflict-affected countries. Also stressing that vaccines have expired on airport tarmacs in Afghanistan, Nigeria and South Sudan, she underscored the importance of enhancing delivery capabilities and building public trust.
Along similar lines, Emmanuel Ojwang of CARE International, which provides humanitarian assistance in South Sudan, noted that misinformation, including a persistent myth connecting vaccines with infertility, has contributed to vaccine hesitancy in that country. In response, the Ministry of Health and its partners invested in community education, mobilizing religious leaders and radio stations to provide accurate information. Underscoring the fragility of South Sudan’s health system, he portrayed the challenge of rolling out COVID‑19 vaccines to a population of 12 million people, many of whom live in regions that are cut off by seasonal flooding.
In the ensuing discussion, several delegates lamented the stark gaps in vaccination rates across the globe and stressed the importance of addressing the ways in which unilateralism, conflict, misinformation and lack of capacity have impacted vaccine equity and global public health goals.
The yawning vaccination gap between the global North and South, Kenya’s delegate said, has revealed the failure of multilateralism. It also allowed the virus to mutate again and again, he added, noting that if the multilateral machinery had been activated swiftly, the colossal impact of the pandemic would have been avoided. Advocating for a move from discretionary bilateral aid to strategic investment in local vaccine production, he said Kenya recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the pharmaceutical company Moderna to establish a $500 million mRNA vaccine and related drug manufacturing facility in the country.
While it is not possible to vaccinate the world from hunger and suffering, the representative of the United States said, it is indeed possible to vaccinate people against COVID-19. Drawing attention to the impact of conflict, she pointed to Yemen where just 1.3 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated, and Ukraine, where vaccine distribution has come to a halt because of the invasion by Russian Federation. Stressing the importance of removing barriers faced by humanitarian organizations in conflict zones, she said the United States will work to strengthen the global health security architecture.
The international community needs to take a common but differentiated approach and work to strengthen public health systems, Ghana’s delegate underscored, as he highlighted the importance of increasing funding for existing global health organizations. He called for dedicating an additional 1 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) to global health funding, adding: “This is an investment in global public good, not aid.” Also stressing the need to decentralize manufacturing capacities, he said Ghana, Rwanda and Senegal are all venturing into vaccine development and called on major stakeholders to address issues around vaccine indemnity and liability requirements.
Several delegates took up this call and drew attention to the impact of intellectual property claims on vaccine equity. Mexico’s delegate called for their temporary suspension during pandemics, also adding that the international community must avoid stigmatizing a vaccine for political motivations, even after it has been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Norway’s delegate called on manufacturers to waive their indemnity and liability requirements, while China’s delegate noted that his country was the first to support intellectual property right waivers for vaccines. India’s representative meanwhile said his delegation has proposed, alongside South Africa, a Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights waiver for COVID‑19 vaccines, diagnostics and medicines. He highlighted the more than 170 million doses of “made-in-India” vaccines that have reached 96 countries and United Nations entities, also citing the country’s upgrading of two peacekeeping hospitals in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Juba in South Sudan, at the onset of the pandemic.
Also speaking today were the representatives of the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, France, Brazil, Russian Federation, Albania, Gabon and Ireland.
The meeting began at 3:04 p.m. and ended at 5:04 p.m.
TED CHAIBAN, Global Lead Coordinator for COVID-19 Vaccine Country-Readiness and Delivery, highlighted the importance of rapid action in the next six months because “the window of opportunity is gradually closing”. The COVID-19 vaccine delivery partnership has largely focused on 34 countries which were at 10 per cent or less vaccine coverage, he noted, adding that 19 of the 34 countries identified for concerted support are included in the Global Humanitarian Overview for 2022 report. There are many competing health, humanitarian and economic priorities in these countries, he stressed, making it necessary to bundle COVID‑19 vaccination with other health and humanitarian interventions. Strong political leadership, planning and implementation of mass vaccination campaign countries is essential, he added.
Since January 2022, he added, the number of countries with a full population vaccination coverage rate at or below 10 per cent has dropped from 34 countries to 18. Highlighting the campaign in Ethiopia, he said vaccination coverage in that country increased from 4 per cent in January to just over 20 per cent now, including in some of the conflict-affected areas. In the Central African Republic, meanwhile, strong community engagement and the mobilization of young people has led to almost 19 per cent of the population being vaccinated. Also pointing to the importance of working with humanitarian workers, he acknowledged the significance of the “humanitarian buffer”, established within the COVAX facility to ensure access to COVID‑19 vaccines for vulnerable populations in humanitarian settings. Calling on the Council to ensure implementation of the relevant resolutions and to turn funding pledges into tangible support, he said it is essential to continue the conversation on a global health emergency architecture.
ESPERANZA MARTINEZ, Senior Adviser to the Office of the Director-General of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said COVID-19 has killed more than 6 million people globally, with the number probably much higher, as this is the officially reported figure. Success in the development and production of vaccines means that many countries are starting to regain a sense of normalcy. To end the pandemic, vaccinations must occur everywhere. However, in conflict-affected areas, health systems torn apart by fighting are less able to contain the spread of diseases across frontlines and international borders. Many people in these settings are overlooked in public health responses, including those who are displaced, detained or living in areas controlled by non-State armed groups. Moreover, COVID‑19 is not the most pressing issue people face, as basic needs for food, water and shelter are often not being met.
As the supply of vaccine doses grows, the potential to “get jabs in arms” does too, she said. The Security Council, Member States and conflict-affected countries must together ensure that international humanitarian law is respected so that hospitals and other medical facilities, as well as medical personnel, are specifically protected from attacks. Further, COVID‑19 vaccinations must be integrated into a broader health strategy, she insisted, stressing that vaccines have expired on airport tarmacs in Afghanistan, Nigeria, South Sudan and several other places. Countries need a degree of capacity to deliver vaccines. The COVID‑19 pandemic “offers an opportune moment to strengthen the health systems in conflict affected countries”, she said, urging those involved to integrate COVID‑19 vaccinations into other health services that are prioritized in times of conflict. This investment can help address renewed outbreaks of other highly contagious and lethal diseases, such as measles in Afghanistan or polio in the Democratic Republic of Congo. One strategy is to invest in building health workers’ capacity and skill sets, she said, noting that ICRC supported more than 600 health facilities in Iraq in 2021, allowing for the administration of more than 14 million doses of COVID‑19 vaccines.
She said communities should be involved in vaccination activities, as this helps to enhance the safety of frontline health workers and expands the reach of vaccination and other health efforts. Lack of community engagement can undermine public trust in vaccinations and Government-run programmes more broadly, with ramifications beyond the pandemic. The effects of distrust in West Africa with Ebola and in many countries with COVID‑19 can be seen. “Even if communities can be reached, people will not accept being vaccinated if they do not trust those administering the vaccine and they do not see other pressing priorities being addressed”, she cautioned. ICRC helped to administer more than 21 million doses of COVID‑19 vaccine in 2021 in areas impacted by armed conflict. “Equitable access to COVID‑19 vaccination is a humanitarian imperative”, she stressed, emphasizing that “collective recovery depends on it, because the longer COVID circulates anywhere, the longer it remains a threat everywhere”.
EMMANUEL OJWANG, CARE International, said his group provides humanitarian assistance to various parts of the country in multiple sectors, including health, nutrition, gender and protection, and food security and livelihoods. The communities it supports face challenges ranging from food insecurity to intercommunal conflict and flooding that has caused displacement. As in other parts of sub-Saharan Africa, South Sudan has seen misinformation which contributed to vaccine hesitancy, including persistent myths that vaccines cause infertility in women and men.
Even before the onset of COVID‑19, he said, South Sudan’s health systems were fragile and overstretched, with 56 per cent of people lacking adequate access to health care and needing to walk miles to reach a clinic. The country faces shortages of skilled health-care workers, and when COVID‑19 hit, only 49 per cent of children had received even the standard childhood vaccines. “You can imagine the huge challenge South Sudan’s health system faced when we had to suddenly roll out COVID‑19 vaccines to a population of 12 million people, many of whom live in regions that are cut off from the rest of country for several months of the year due to seasonal flooding,” he said.
In that context, he recounted how South Sudan’s Ministry of Health and its partners worked together in June and July of 2021 to make a series of smart investments that dramatically increased their ability to roll out COVID‑19 vaccines, even in conflict-affected areas. Among other actions, it made strategic investments in community education and mobilization to bust the myths and misinformation surrounding the vaccine. For example, religious leaders were mobilized to provide accurate information to their congregations, and radio stations were used to spread the message. CARE made sure that all health workers were adequately trained and supervised and had the necessary personal protective equipment. It was also critical to ensure that they were paid the same daily salary, in accordance with Ministry of Health standards, so there were no pay gaps between vaccinators involved in the COVID‑19 response and those carrying out routine health services.
Noting that the real cost of inclusive, “last-mile” COVID-19 vaccine delivery in South Sudan is significantly higher than current global estimates, he said South Sudan is just one of many conflict- and post-conflict settings that will need additional health care workers, training and infrastructure to roll-out COVID-19 vaccines, while also maintaining other essential health services. “In fact, costs will go up as South Sudan works to reach remote and underserved communities with highly effective - but very expensive – approaches like mobile clinics and health outreach services,” he said, stressing that such approaches remain dramatically underfunded.
Meanwhile, he emphasized that women are less likely to be vaccinated than men; less likely to have access to health information and services; and may have less trust in vaccines. It is critically important to identify and address gender-related inequities and take proactive steps to make sure women and girls in all their diversity are reached with information and services, he said, urging the Council and the global donor community to ensure safe and unhindered humanitarian access to all people in need. They should also invest in non-governmental health organizations and ensure that COVID-19 vaccine costing models and budgets cover all aspects of delivery, and reflect the real-world costs of rolling out the vaccines to the last mile - including investments in frontline health workers, community outreach, monitoring and logistics, he said.
TARIQ AHMAD, Minister for State for South and Central Asia, North Africa, United Nations and the Commonwealth of the United Kingdom, Council President for April, spoke in his national capacity to note that his country has committed £1.4 billion to address the impacts of COVID‑19 and to help end the pandemic as quickly as possible, including by contributing £829 million to global development, manufacture and delivery of COVID vaccines, treatments and tests. The recent Global Pandemic Preparedness Summit hosted by the United Kingdom has raised $1.5 billion in funding for the Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, he added, pointing out that his country is among the largest donors to the Advance Market Commitment, committing half a billion pounds so far. He emphasized that after more than a year of steady vaccine production, the challenge has moved from supply to roll-out, citing an Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs report which noted that less than 4 per cent of the populations of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Yemen, Haiti and Burundi are vaccinated.
SARAH BINT YOUSIF AL AMIRI, Minister for State of the United Arab Emirates noted that despite the unprecedented speed of COVID‑19 vaccine innovations, the vaccination rate in countries on the Council’s agenda ranges from a high of 49 per cent to a low of less than 1 per cent, with an alarming average below 10 per cent. She said 2022 represents perhaps the best opportunity in two years to improve vaccination in these countries, adding that the Council must continue to underscore the security benefits of vaccination. Improved humanitarian access enhances vaccination efforts, she noted, stressing that the Council’s support for these tools, from ceasefires to days of tranquility to humanitarian notification systems, can make a difference in the rapid delivery and distribution of vaccines. Also calling on the Council to encourage entities operating under its mandate to ensure coordination at the country level, she stressed the needed for gender-responsiveness in vaccination.
LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD (United States), recalling that 6 million people have died due to the pandemic, praised the historic feat of the scientific community in developing and rolling out life-saving vaccines in under a year. Her country worked with the COVAX facility and other partners to provide over 518 million doses to 114 countries with “no strings attached”, she said. Yet, many countries, especially those experiencing conflict, lag behind, she noted, pointing to Yemen where just 1.3 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated. Stressing that this is not an issue of supply but one of access, she drew attention to the barriers faced by aid organizations in conflict zones and said the Russian Federation’s unprovoked brutal invasion has meant that vaccine distribution has come to a halt in Ukraine. The United States is working to strengthen the global health security architecture, she added, underscoring the critical role of the Council in this context. “We wish we could vaccinate the world from hunger and suffering,” she said. While that is not possible, it is possible to vaccinate people against COVID‑19 and to save lives.
NICOLAS DE RIVIÈRE (France) said vaccination rates remain unequal from one country to the next, and the world is still far from attaining global herd immunity. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Yemen and Haiti, the rate is less than 4 per cent of the population, while the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that two thirds of Africa’s population may have contracted COVID‑19. Obstacles to access are numerous and include insecurity, disinformation and resistance to vaccination, he said, calling for a focus on equitable, affordable and universal access and for vaccines to be considered a global public good. A cessation of hostilities and a humanitarian pause are critical if the rollout of vaccines is to be facilitated. The most vulnerable should be cared for in vaccination plans, particularly refugees and internally displaced persons, he said, underscoring the imperative of strengthening communication and awareness raising to combat disinformation and of bolstering health systems, because if they do not allow for access to high quality services the pandemic will not end.
RONALDO COSTA FILHO (Brazil) said the entire United Nations system has been involved in the multilateral response to the COVID‑19 pandemic. The Council’s first resolution on the matter demands a cessation of hostilities and calls upon all parties to armed conflict to engage in a durable humanitarian pause to enable the sustained delivery of humanitarian assistance. Its second resolution states that people in conflict zones must not be left behind in vaccination campaigns, he said, noting that vaccination rates in armed conflict settings are disturbingly low. While international bodies, such as WHO, are tasked with ensuring people are fully vaccinated and that the world is better equipped to deal with future pandemics, the Security Council can do more to see that people in conflict-affected areas have access to vaccines. It must work to overcome challenges to access by renewing its call on all parties involved in armed conflicts to allow for humanitarian access, he said.
EVGENY Y. VARGANOV (Russian Federation), spotlighting the provisions of resolutions 2532 (2021) and 2565 (2021), welcomed United Nations efforts to organize a proper vaccination campaign among its peacekeepers. Also noting the establishment of a COVID‑19 vaccine delivery partnership by WHO and others, he said this is particularly crucial given the inability of many Governments to receive and administer vaccines, due in large part to the imposition of unilateral sanctions. Expressing hope that the “humanitarian buffer” focused on the world’s most vulnerable people will be effective, he asked the briefers to address challenges in that regard, including the issue of indemnities.
He expressed regret that the topic of sanctions continues to receive little attention in the Council, noting that the Russian Federation is doing its part to support those in need, having delivered millions of doses to countries, such as Syria, on the Council’s agenda. It is also hosting hundreds of thousands of refugees from Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions, he said, noting that in the Russian Federation they receive free vaccines and COVID‑19 treatment on an equal footing with Russian citizens. Responding to one delegation which uses every Council meeting to attack the Russian Federation, he said Moscow has repeatedly provided details of its special military operation in Ukraine and “we do not intend to go back to this topic now”.
ZHANG JUN (China) said that while “humanity is beginning the see the light at the end of the tunnel, the pandemic is not over yet”. The world cannot afford to be complacent, and it must work together to build immunological barriers to future outbreaks. Noting that the target of vaccinating 70 per cent of the world’s population has not been reached, he said resolution 2565 (2021) calls for increased access and affordability of vaccines in conflict areas. That supply must be scaled up in order to leave no on behind. China has provided more than 2 billion doses to more than 120 countries and will provide millions more. To date, it has contributed $100 million and 200 million doses to the COVAX facility, and it was the first country to support intellectual property rights waivers for vaccines. Noting that the root cause of the “last mile bottleneck” facing vaccine distribution is the inadequacy of public health systems, he urged the global community to “look far ahead” before the next pandemic and help countries strengthen their health-care infrastructure. Fresh momentum is also needed in post-pandemic recovery and socioeconomic development, he said, while warning against ongoing geopolitical divisions, which are dangerous and must be categorically rejected.
CATHERINE MOE (Norway), expressing concern about the stark disparity in vaccinations, noted that while some countries are close to universal coverage, others have very low rates, for instance Ethiopia, where less than 18 per cent are vaccinated. Despite speedy research and development, delivery is still a challenge, she said, drawing attention to the urgent need for a fully financed COVAX facility. It is vital to ensure equitable access to vaccines and diagnostics, especially for those living beyond the reach of national authorities. Calling on manufacturers to waive their indemnity and liability requirements, she added that sufficient supply of doses is not enough: Community engagement and dialogue are necessary to enhance confidence, especially in conflict settings where trust in national authorities might be low. It is also essential to enhance the capacity of local health systems to deliver, she said recalling instances of vaccines expiring on the tarmac in Afghanistan and South Sudan.
HAROLD ADLAI AGYEMAN (Ghana), noting that only about 13 per cent of people in low-income countries have been vaccinated, added that this estimate pales in comparison to the plight of millions of people in countries and regions with armed conflict. Expressing concern about the international community’s failure to administer vaccines in a fair and equitable manner, he stressed the importance of implementing resolution 2565 (2021), particularly provisions relating to the “humanitarian buffer”. Also calling on major stakeholders to address issues around vaccine indemnity and liability requirements, he stressed the importance of increasing funding for existing global health organizations. It is necessary to dedicate an additional 1 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) to global health funding, he said, adding: “This is an investment in global public good, not aid.” COVID‑19 vaccinations cannot be a stand-alone goal, he cautioned, adding that the international community needs to take a common but differentiated approach and work to strengthen public health systems to ensure that vaccination is only one element of a broader health strategy. Also stressing the need to decentralize manufacturing capacities, including in Africa, where conflict situations impact distribution, he said that Ghana, Rwanda and Senegal are venturing into vaccine development.
FERIT HOXHA (Albania) emphasized the need for more robust efforts to facilitate equitable and affordable access to vaccines, citing the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ report which show more than one third of the 28 Humanitarian Response Plan countries — including Yemen, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, South Sudan, Cameroon, Burundi and Mali — have hardly vaccinated 3 to 10 per cent of their populations. He went on to highlight the vital importance of funding for the ACT-Accelerator while acknowledging the vital roles of United Nations country teams, as well as peacekeeping and special political missions, in supporting vaccination efforts.
JUAN GÓMEZ ROBLEDO VERDUZCO (Mexico) said unequal access to vaccines is exacerbated in conflict, post-conflict and humanitarian situations. Additionally, the emergence of new variants — and new conflicts — has hampered global efforts to address the health crisis in a united way, while the call for a widespread cessation of hostilities during the pandemic has been “totally ignored”. He went on to stress that science has enabled the development of vaccines in record time and headway has been made in their availability; however, the situation in many countries on the Council’s agenda is otherwise discouraging. There is enough supply to vaccinate all adults in the world, yet Haiti has only received enough doses to cover 3 per cent of its population and distributed even less that that percentage. Mali and South Sudan, meanwhile, have only received 8 per cent of what is required. He called for the temporary suspension of intellectual property rights during pandemics. Additionally, there must be a universal recognition of all of vaccines that have been approved by WHO, he said, underscoring that “stigmatizing a vaccine for political motivations is abhorrent”. The Council’s commitment on this issue is needed to mitigate the impact of the pandemic in conflict settings.
MICHEL XAVIER BIANG (Gabon) said COVID‑19 has proven to be “a formidable enemy” that calls into question the global community’s resilience and ability to both anticipate and combat future challenges. The Secretary-General launched a global appeal two years ago for an immediate ceasefire everywhere in order to focus on the fight against COVID‑19. On the health front, the results remain mixed. The moral principle of the vaccine as common global good struggles to hold up in the face of reality, nationalism and the economic interests of multinational enterprises. The Security Council’s decision to establish a truce has not been realized, and on many battlefields, the guns have not been silenced. Despite the combined efforts of COVAX and others, there is no denying that only a small percentage of people in developing countries have been vaccinated, he said, noting that the rate is even lower in conflict settings, in contrast to the 70 per cent rate in developed countries.
RAVINDRA RAGUTTAHALLI (India) said vaccination rates in countries facing conflict situations remain very low due to lack of coordination in vaccine distribution and sufficient capacity to administer vaccines in such settings. Calling for strategies to address vaccine hesitancy by spreading scientific and accurate information on the coronavirus, he emphasized the need to ensure that any slackening of other vaccination campaigns is reversed. He went on to note that India has supplied more than 150 countries with essential medicines and medical accessories since the outbreak of COVID-19. Recipient countries need robust capabilities in critical sectors to convert “vaccines into vaccination”, he added. Highlighting the more than 170 million doses of “made-in-India” vaccines that have reached 96 countries and United Nations entities, he said India has helped to build the capacity of several nations and upgraded two peacekeeping hospitals in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Juba in South Sudan, at the onset of the pandemic. He went on to point out attempts by terrorists to exploit pandemic-related lockdowns to weaken social cohesiveness. “We are still far from a post-pandemic world,” he stressed, citing current data on COVID-19 cases. He underlined the need to increase up manufacturing capacities and keep the global supply chains for raw materials open and uninterrupted. India strongly supports the principle of equity in the World Health Organization (WHO) and has proposed, alongside South Africa, a TRIPS waiver in the World Trade Organization for COVID vaccines, diagnostics and medicines, he added.
MICHAEL KAPKIAI KIBOINO (Kenya) drew the Council’s attention to the written advice from the Peacebuilding Commission regarding vaccine equity, availability and access in countries affected by conflict, in Kenya’s capacity as the informal coordinator between the two organs. “COVID‑19’s dire effects globally and indeed in conflict-riddled areas are staggering,” he said, noting that it has strained humanitarian aid flows, exposed vulnerable groups to further risks, undermined peace processes and peacebuilding efforts and eroded critical development gains. “If the multilateral machinery was activated swiftly and effectively, we believe the colossal impact of the pandemic would have been avoided,” he said. Instead, the pandemic exposed countries’ “fickle commitment to multilateralism” and a false sense of autonomy by the developed world.
Indeed, he said, the yawning gap in vaccination rates between the global North and South has revealed the failure of multilateralism and allowed the virus to mutate again and again. “This is a cause for concern not only in relation to the pandemic, but also other global threats such as climate change and the war in Ukraine,” he said. Urging the world to continue to tackle the lack of equitable access to vaccines, poor distribution infrastructure and vaccine hesitancy through multipronged approaches, he advocated a move from discretionary bilateral aid to strategic investment in local vaccine production. In that vein, Kenya recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the pharmaceutical company Moderna to establish a $500 million mRNA vaccine and related drug manufacturing facility in the country. He also urged the Council to act, including by reiterating its demands that all conflict parties engage immediately in a durable, extensive and sustained humanitarian pause to facilitate the delivery of COVID‑19 vaccines.
BRIAN PATRICK FLYNN (Ireland), referring to progress made towards the WHO global vaccination target rate of 70 per cent by mid-2022, noted that significant and persistent gaps in coverage remain. Emphasizing the need to address very low vaccination rates in conflict or post-conflict contexts, and to apply flexible creative solutions, he said the creation of the COVAX Humanitarian Buffer was a positive step, but the challenge in 2022 goes far beyond tackling supply to restoring, rebuilding, and supplementing health systems. He stressed, in particular, the need to concentrate on building capacities in logistics, transport and delivery of health services. Citing recent WHO data, he went on to condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the reported 160 attacks on health-care facilities, workers, and transport globally in 2022, including more than 100 in Ukraine.
Mr. CHAIBAN, responding to a question posed by the representative of the Russian Federation on the “humanitarian buffer”, said that as there is now a track record on the possible adverse effects of the vaccine, there can be an evolution in the discussion around indemnity and liability. Steps in the approval of vaccines can be examined, as can insurance instruments to cover any remaining indemnity and liability concerns. Discussions around the “humanitarian buffer” are looking into these different options, he assured.