Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs highlighted COVID-19 vaccines as a humanitarian necessity and COVID-19 vaccine technology transfer to respond to COVID-19 and future pandemics.
On 5 August 2021, H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, participated in the First Meeting of the International Forum on COVID-19 Vaccine Cooperation, chaired by H.E. Mr. Wang Yi, State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs of China. He underlined that COVID-19 vaccines are a humanitarian necessity and called for countries with vaccine surplus to contribute more to the global supply of COVID-19 vaccines through bilateral and multilateral frameworks, including the COVAX Facility. Countries, pharmaceutical companies and financial institutions must also cooperate and facilitate the transfer of COVID-19 production technology to developing countries as a means to increase global supply. At the same time, the international community must devise constructive measures to prepare and respond to new pandemics.
Participating countries viewed that new variant mutations of COVID-19 are adding to current challenges in fighting the virus, causing a continued rise in global infection rates. Urgent development of COVID-19 vaccines is required to tackle the mutations. They expressed support for the ongoing discussion on an intellectual property rights waiver of COVID-19 vaccine technology at the WTO and emphasized that COVID-19 vaccines must be global public goods with equitable access to all, in particular the developing countries and low-income countries. Participants further called for solidarity and stronger international cooperation in the fight against COVID-19, and non-discriminatory recognition of vaccines for international travel which should be based on the WHO’s Emergency Use Listing Procedure (EUL).
The First Meeting of the International Forum on COVID-19 Vaccine Cooperation was attended by high-level representatives from 24 countries, international organizations and vaccine manufacturing companies. A Joint Statement of the International Forum on COVID-19 Vaccine Cooperation was agreed upon as the outcome of the Meeting. H.E. Mr. Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China,contributed a Welcome Message at the opening session. Moreover, H.E. Mr. António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General, and Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), also shared views at the meeting.