G7 health ministers meet at Oxford to discuss global health, COVID-19

Health ministers from the G7 countries will meet in-person today at Oxford University to discuss global health security, digital health

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Photo: Reuters

Health ministers from the G7 countries will meet in-person today at Oxford University to discuss global health security, digital health and vaccine development strategies.

The lack of international standards and regulation on COVID-19 vaccine trials has complicated cross-comparisons among different shots, potentially promoting ineffectual drugs, such as hydroxychloroquine. While worldwide standardization is difficult, initial homogenization at the G7 level is likely to succeed owing to the bloc’s cooperative health agencies. Therefore, expect the current chair of the G7 presidency, the United Kingdom, to push for global vaccine trials standardization.

Salient problems also reside on the distribution side due to vaccine hoarding, with just ten countries administering 75% of all vaccines. Despite G7 leaders committing $4.3 billion to finance equitable global access to vaccines, COVAX is severely undersupplied. Researchers are calling for vaccine donations of 153 million doses to prevent a repeat of deadly second waves, such as the one seen in India. As a global, equitable distribution of vaccines is the fastest way to reach worldwide herd immunity, expect G7 countries to establish emergency vaccine supply provisions to high-risk countries, such as Sri Lanka, Argentina and Brazil.

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