The sixth assembly of the Emergency Committee convened by the WHO Director-Basic beneath the Worldwide Well being Rules (2005) (IHR) relating to the coronavirus illness (COVID-19) passed off on Thursday, 14 January 2021 from 12:15 to 16:45
Geneva time (CEST).
Proceedings of the assembly
Members and Advisors of the Emergency Committee have been convened by videoconference.
The Director-Basic welcomed the Committee, expressed the necessity for international solidarity in addressing the challenges posed by the pandemic, and emphasised the necessity for defense of probably the most weak. He thanked the Committee for his or her continued assist
Representatives of the authorized division and the Division of Compliance, Threat Administration, and Ethics (CRE) briefed the members on their roles and tasks. The Ethics Officer from CRE supplied the Members and Advisers with an summary of the
WHO Declaration of Curiosity course of. The Members and Advisers have been made conscious of their particular person duty to open up to WHO, in a well timed method, any pursuits of a private, skilled, monetary, mental or industrial nature that will
give rise to a perceived or direct battle of curiosity. They have been moreover reminded of their obligation to take care of the confidentiality of the assembly discussions and the work of the Committee. Every member who was current was surveyed and no
conflicts of curiosity have been recognized.
The Secretariat turned the assembly over to the Chair, Professor Didier Houssin. Professor Houssin additionally welcomed the Committee and reviewed the targets and agenda of the assembly.
The WHO Director of the Well being Emergency Info and Threat Evaluation Division supplied an summary of the evolution of the pandemic and the progress made on the implementation of the 30 October 2020 Non permanent Suggestions. WHO continues to watch
the worldwide threat degree of the COVID-19 pandemic. WHO assessed the worldwide threat degree as very excessive due, partially, to latest studies of recent SARS-CoV-2 variants.
A consultant of the UK of Nice Britain and Northern Eire introduced on the brand new SARS-CoV-2 variant which is inflicting elevated transmission however not severity of COVID-19. A consultant of Denmark introduced on the SARS-CoV-2 mink variants
and their response which has resulted in these variants not circulating in human populations. The WHO Technical Lead for COVID-19 Response and an Emergency Committee Member from South Africa supplied an summary of the variant detected by South
Africa. The WHO Technical Lead then shared a world overview of SARS-CoV-2 mutations and variants in addition to plans to develop and implement customary nomenclature for variants that doesn’t reference a geographical location.
The WHO Director of the Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals Division introduced the present standing of the COVID-19 vaccine panorama and introduction. The Chair of the Strategic Advisory Group of Consultants on Immunization (SAGE) famous out there steering
together with WHO SAGE Roadmap for Prioritizing Uses of COVID-19 Vaccines in the Context of Limited Supply and the Interim Recommendations for Use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine (BNT162b2) under Emergency Use Listing.
The Director of Air Transport Bureau of the Worldwide Civil Aviation Group (ICAO) shared their COVID-19 actions associated to testing and vaccination, together with the Manual on Testing and Cross Border Risk Management Measures (Doc 10152) which supplies nations with threat administration methods for worldwide journey. The WHO Unit Head of the IHR Secretariat
supplied an summary of the authorized provisions in addition to the scientific, moral and technological concerns for vaccination certificates associated to worldwide journey.
The Committee acknowledged the challenges posed by some producers’ delayed submission of vaccine information to WHO. These information delays impression WHO’s capacity to offer emergency use itemizing which in the end have an effect on equitable vaccine entry. The Committee
strongly encourages producers to offer information to WHO as quickly as potential.
The Committee unanimously agreed that the COVID-19 pandemic nonetheless constitutes a unprecedented occasion, a public well being threat to different States by worldwide unfold, and continues to require a coordinated worldwide response. As such, the Committee
concurred that the COVID-19 pandemic stays a public well being emergency of worldwide concern (PHEIC) and provided recommendation to the Director-Basic.
The Committee acknowledged WHO’s and States Events’ progress in implementing the earlier Non permanent Suggestions from the 5th meeting of the Emergency Committee. The Committee famous that these suggestions stay related and had acquired further urgency given the evolution of the pandemic and the continued
want for a coordinated international response. The Committee suggested on extending the earlier Non permanent Suggestions and supplied further recommendation to the Director-Basic.
The Director-Basic decided that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to represent a PHEIC. He accepted the recommendation of the Committee to WHO and issued the Committee’s recommendation to States Events as Non permanent Suggestions beneath the IHR.
The Emergency Committee will probably be reconvened inside three months, on the discretion of the Director-Basic. The Director-Basic thanked the Committee for its work.
Recommendation to the WHO Secretariat
- Proceed to work with companions to develop standardized definitions and nomenclature of SARS-CoV-2 virus variants, based mostly on their genetic sequence, that avoids stigmatization and is geographically and politically impartial. Present clear info
to State Events on what constitutes a variant of concern.
- Proceed to extend worldwide capacities for SARS-CoV-2 molecular testing and genetic sequencing, in keeping with WHO steering, and encourage fast sharing of sequences and meta-data to strengthen monitoring of virus evolution and to extend international
understanding of variants and their results on vaccine, therapeutics and diagnostic efficacy.
- Strengthen the SARS-CoV-2 threat monitoring framework for variants by accelerating collaboration and harmonizing analysis to reply essential unknowns about particular mutations and variants, by related networks and knowledgeable teams reminiscent of WHO SARS-CoV-2
Virus Evolution Working Group and the WHO R&D Blueprint for Epidemics.
- Speed up analysis on essential unknowns about COVID-19 vaccination efficacy on transmission, length of safety towards extreme illness and asymptomatic an infection, length of immunity (following an infection or vaccination), long-term safety
after utilizing completely different vaccination intervals, safety after a single dose, and vaccination regimes, in keeping with the SAGE and the Analysis and Growth Blueprint suggestions.
- Promote international solidarity and equitable vaccine entry by encouraging States Events and producers to donate assets and supply assist to the COVAX Facility.
- Promote know-how switch to low- and middle- earnings nations with the potential capability to speed up international manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines.
- Assist State Events, together with fragile states, in getting ready for COVID-19 vaccine introduction by growing a nationwide deployment and vaccination plan, in keeping with WHO guidance, that addresses obstacles to COVID-19 vaccine readiness. Such planning ought to embrace prioritization of populations, regulatory authorization, provide and logistics preparation, indemnification
and legal responsibility, well being workforce planning, and entry for humanitarian and weak inhabitants.
Well being Measures in Relation to Worldwide Site visitors
- Lead growth of risk-based worldwide requirements and steering for decreasing SARS-CoV-2 transmission associated to worldwide journey (by air, land, and sea) based mostly on present science and good practices that embrace clear suggestions for testing
approaches and quarantine length as applicable. The steering ought to moreover embrace recommendation on adapting these measure to particular threat settings, together with actions of migrants, momentary staff, travellers and conveyance operators.
- Quickly develop and disseminate the WHO coverage place on the authorized, moral, scientific, and technological concerns associated to necessities for proof of COVID-19 vaccination for worldwide vacationers, in accordance with related IHR provisions.
- Coordinate with related stakeholders the event of requirements for digital documentation of COVID-19 travel-related threat discount measures ,that may be carried out on interoperable digital platforms. This could embrace vaccination standing in
preparation for widespread vaccine entry.
- Encourage States Events to implement coordinated, time-limited, risk-based, and evidence-based approaches for well being measures in relation to worldwide journey.
Proof-Based mostly Response Methods
- Proceed to quickly present and often replace evidence-based recommendation; steering; instruments; and assets, together with common dissemination of assets to fight misinformation for COVID-19, to reinforce evidence-based COVID-19 preparedness and response
methods and implementation of such methods.
- Proceed to actively assist nations to additional strengthen their SARS-CoV-2 surveillance programs, together with strategic use of genetic sequencing, by leveraging present programs such because the World Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS)
and related networks for systematic sharing of knowledge and specimens.
Strengthening Well being Methods
- Present strategic perception on how State Events can maintain the general public well being infrastructure, capacities, and capabilities developed for COVID-19 response to assist strengthened well being programs and common well being protection within the long-term.
Extra Non permanent Suggestions to State Events
- Improve molecular testing and genetic sequencing and share sequences and meta-data with WHO and thru publicly accessible databases to reinforce international understanding of the virus evolution and inform response efforts.
- Assist coordinated international analysis efforts to raised perceive essential unknowns about SARS-CoV-2 particular mutations and variants.
- Interact in know-how switch to speed up international manufacturing and deployment of COVID-19 vaccines and ancillary provides.
- Put together for COVID-19 vaccine introduction and post-introduction analysis utilizing the steering, instruments, and trainings for nationwide/subnational focal factors and well being staff developed by the Entry to COVID-19 Instruments (ACT) Accelerator’s Country Readiness and Delivery workstream.
- Incorporate, as obligatory and applicable, the personal sector into the COVID-19 vaccine planning and introduction to complement present service provision and vaccination capability.
- Encourage and facilitate vaccine acceptance and uptake by offering credible info on vaccine security and the advantages of vaccination to deal with considerations.
Well being Measures in Relation to Worldwide Site visitors
- Nowadays, don’t introduce necessities of proof of vaccination or immunity for worldwide journey as a situation of entry as there are nonetheless essential unknowns relating to the efficacy of vaccination in decreasing transmission and restricted
availability of vaccines. Proof of vaccination shouldn’t exempt worldwide travellers from complying with different journey threat discount measures.
- Implement coordinated, time-limited, risk-based, and evidence-based approaches for well being measures in relation to worldwide visitors in keeping with WHO steering and IHR provisions. Cautious consideration ought to be given to when and if journey bans
ought to or shouldn’t be used as instruments to cut back unfold. Such selections ought to be based mostly on the very best out there proof.
- Share info with WHO on the results of well being measures in minimizing transmission of SARS-CoV-2 throughout worldwide journey to tell WHO’s growth of evidence-based steering.
Proof-Based mostly Response Methods
Refine evidence-based methods based on WHO steering to manage the unfold of SARS-CoV-2 utilizing applicable public well being and social measures, together with methods that tackle pandemic fatigue.
Improve funding in surveillance and sequencing capacities to detect and report early emergence of variants and assess abrupt modifications in transmission or illness severity to extend understanding of the evolution of the pandemic.
Make the most of the WHO SARS-CoV-2 international laboratory community, leverage GISRS and different laboratory networks for well timed reporting and sharing of samples; assist different State Events, the place wanted, in well timed sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 virus specimens.
Strengthening Well being Methods
Proceed to strengthen public well being infrastructure, system capacities, and capabilities for COVID-19 response and to reinforce common well being protection.