(Source: European Commission)
The United States of America and the European Union are implementing the U.S.-EU Agenda for Beating the Global Pandemic, Vaccinating the World, Saving Lives Now and Building Back Better Health Security of 22 September 2021. Today, Presidents Biden and Von Der Leyen reaffirmed milestones in their strong cooperation towards the five headline goals of the Agenda, and they previewed further joint action below:
Vaccine equity and ‘shots-in-arms’. Having shared a combined total of more than 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses, and in line with a commitment to share a total of 1.9 billion doses around the world, the EU and U.S. seek to ensure ongoing deliveries are based on country demand, informed by best practices and reach ‘tarmac to arms’, with focus on sub-Saharan Africa. Through support from Team Europe and U.S. Global VAX programs, both sides recognise that vaccine equity starts with best practice donation principles including adequate and transparent planning in cooperation with governments, in-country partners, COVAX (as part of ACT-A), the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT), WHO, the COVID- 19 Vaccine Delivery Partnership (CoVDP), and others. Given that dose supply is currently not constrained, the partnership should pay particular attention to enhancing vaccine readiness, strengthening logistics, combating hesitancy, and building longer-term capacity by means of health systems strengthening, and immediate capability for vaccine uptake as part of the global COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery Partnership. To strengthen our partnership, the U.S. and EU will actively consult with partners including AVATT, CoVDP, and COVAX on strategies to accelerate vaccine absorption. The U.S. and EU will strengthen dialogues with multilateral development banks and global partners aiming towards better uptake of and sustainable financing for in-country vaccination operations.
Strengthening global supply chains and manufacturing. The need to ensure vaccine and therapeutic dose supply and administration in the face of supply chain constraints led to the launch of the joint EU-U.S. COVID-19 manufacturing and supply chain task force in September 2021. The leaders expect that the task force will extend its activities to provide early warning of supply chain bottlenecks that could hamper global availability of vaccines and treatments, and to coordinate efforts to sustain vaccine and therapeutics production capabilities for variants and future pandemics, including in Africa.
Enhanced EU-U.S. coordination to improve global health security architecture. Enhancing pandemic prevention, preparedness and response (PPR) capacities requires strong international cooperation, and the U.S. and the EU are committed to cooperate to this end, including under the lines of effort of the COVID-19 Prioritized Global Action Plan for Enhanced Engagement (GAP). Enhanced PPR requires a strengthening of the global health architecture, including of the WHO at the centre, and sustainable financing. Presidents Biden and Von Der Leyen welcomed the support of the G20 under Indonesia’s leadership, and committed to cooperate on the establishment of a new Financial Intermediary Fund (FIF) for pandemic preparedness and global health security at the World Bank, including its sustainable capitalization, governance and structure. The U.S. and EU committed to support the early design and implementation of the FIF. The leaders will also cooperate towards the conclusion of a convention, agreement or other international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response at the WHO, and targeted amendments to the International Health Regulations, in order to strengthen the global rulebook for pandemic PPR. The EU and the U.S. are working together with expert dialogue to forge consensus on targeted IHR amendments and the content of a pandemic instrument. They also recognise the importance of engagement with other partners to take forward both sustainable financing for PPR and a strengthened WHO.
Preparing for the future, pathogen detection and monitoring, joint threat assessment and response. The EU and U.S. will collaborate to improve pathogen monitoring and threat assessment, leveraging existing and novel approaches, providing integrated surveillance, real-time monitoring, early warning systems, forecasting and analytics, intelligence exchange, supporting rapid response networks and an ‘always-ready’ health emergency workforce to prevent or mitigate cross-border outbreaks, all within a One Health approach.
Research and development for new vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics. Acknowledging the importance of swiftly reacting to pandemics, the U.S. and EU support science to shorten the cycle for the development of safe and effective vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics from 300 to 100 days following the identification of such threats and work to make them widely available. In the near term, the EU and U.S. committed to deepen cooperation to identify and evaluate variant adapted, more broadly protective, and next generation vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics while ensuring their safety and efficacy. The U.S. and the EU will work towards aligning R&D investments with manufacturing and manufacturing capabilities development, and will conclude a formal administrative arrangement on preparedness and response for public health threats to be signed this month between the European Commission Health Emergency and Preparedness Response Authority (HERA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.