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G20 health ministers agree on vaccine confidence measures

The Health Ministers from G20 countries, including India, have united to pledge global action to improve future health security, increase vaccine confidence and tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in a Health Declaration agreed in Rome.

The G20 Health Ministers’ Meeting in Italy this week is focused on building on strong cooperation and collaboration to end the COVID-19 pandemic and support recovery around the world. The Health Declaration was agreed on Monday.

The member nations – India, the United Kingdom, the United States, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey and the European Union – agreed to work together to enhance timely global access to safe, affordable and effective COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics.

“These G20 Health meetings have been an excellent opportunity to work together to strengthen our collaboration in combating COVID-19, through rooting out dangerous misinformation, boosting vaccine confidence and protecting the rights of clinical trials volunteers who have saved lives by taking part in vital medical research,” said UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid.

“By working together, harnessing scientific progress and industry innovation, we can help protect people in every corner of the planet from future health emergencies, including the silent pandemic of AMR, which threatens the fabric of modern medicine,” he said.

Meeting counterparts on his first international visit as Health and Social Care Secretary, Javid highlighted the UK’s position on the need for COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial participants to have their vaccination status recognised globally.

To promote vaccine confidence, G20 health ministers agreed to implement the most effective, culturally appropriate, and science-based public communication.

This will help tailor reliable information to specific communities, combat misinformation and improve vaccine uptake, the UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.

The DHSC said over 91 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered across the UK, with nearly 80 per cent of everyone aged over 16 receiving both doses, including more than 50 per cent of those aged 18-29 being double jabbed.

To protect one of the pillars of medicine, antimicrobials that protect against infection, the G20 committed to building capacity for surveillance of antimicrobial use and resistance.

A key focus of future action will be on support for the development of new safe and effective antimicrobials, in particular antibiotics, and incentivising the production of low-cost, affordable generic antimicrobials to safeguard the ability to fight infections for future generations.

The G20 also recognised the importance of recognising gender when designing and implementing health policies, considering the specific needs of women and girls, with a view to achieving gender equality in healthcare delivery.

A joint Finance and Health Ministers’ G20 meeting will take place in October, ahead of the main G20 Summit on October 30 and 31. PTI