G7 health ministers reaffirm fair vaccine supply

The health ministers from the Group of Seven nations have stressed the need for fair access to coronavirus vaccines and international cooperation in carrying out clinical trials.

The ministers adopted a joint declaration during their two-day online meeting that ended on Friday. Britain chaired the gathering in Oxford.

The statement lays out a vision for how they can work together to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and to better prepare for future health threats.

It stresses "the importance of promoting and monitoring equitable global access to safe, effective, quality and affordable vaccines" through the global distribution effort known as COVAX and other means.

The statement also highlights the need for vaccine clinical trials to facilitate the rapid availability of safe and effective medical countermeasures.

The ministers adopted a charter as well on clinical trials for therapeutics and vaccines.

It says coronavirus vaccines have been developed more rapidly during this pandemic than ever before. But it points to the need for improvements, saying that a lack of agreed-upon processes was a barrier to the cross-border movement of materials.

The ministers say that as soon as novel pathogens or viral variants appear, they will work within the G7 countries and beyond to develop a framework to coordinate testing methodology and share testing materials.