COVAX to distribute more than 330 million Covid-19 vaccine doses to developing nations
The COVAX initiative was launched in April last year to ensure the rapid and equitable delivery of coronavirus vaccines to immunized rich and poor countries alike and to high-risk groups.
Led by the World Health Organization and several other international health groups, it has since joined 190 countries, but was shocked by the United States, as former President Donald Trump did not want to work with the WHO.
The first round of distribution includes 336 million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine – 240 million by the Serum Institute of India and 96 million by the AstraZeneca – as well as 1.2 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNotech vaccine.
The documents state that the scheme is “non-binding and may be subject to change”, with actual allocation and distribution on WHO’s approval of emergency use and countries’ readiness to receive and administer vaccines. , The document said.
Interim forecasting allowed countries to begin their own vaccination strategies, including storage, distribution, databases and how to address vaccine inhibition, said Dale Fisher, an infectious disease specialist at the National University of Singapore.
“If they know that some doses are coming in the next month or two, then it’s time to start getting everything ready,” he said.
The COVAX initiative currently requires two doses to provide complete immunity to both vaccines. The Pfizer-BioNotech vaccine should be stored at minus 75 ° C, or minus 103 ° F. In comparison, the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine can be kept at a refrigerator temperature of 2C to 8C (36F to 46F) for at least six months, making transportation and distribution much easier, especially in developing countries that have cold storage. There is a lack of capacity.
But the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the only one that has received emergency use approval from the WHO. An evaluation of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine is currently underway.
According to the allocation plan, delivery of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine is anticipated to begin in late February if all requirements are met.
“We will soon start distributing life-saving vaccines globally, a result we know is necessary to be able to defeat this pandemic,” said Geth Alliance Chief Executive Seth Berkeley. One of the co-leads of the WHO as well as vaccines for poor countries and initiatives.
North Korea is also included in the list, receiving approximately 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine. Pyongyang claims that the country has not contracted a single case of Kovid-19 – which experts say is untrue.
Some wealthy, self-financed countries were also included in the initial distribution plan, such as South Korea, Canada, New Zealand and Singapore.
COVAX aims to deliver 2 billion doses of coronovirus vaccine in less developed countries by the end of this year, enough to vaccinate more than 20% of its member countries population.
But it has long been a question whether it can achieve that goal due to challenges in obtaining sufficient funds and supplies.
Fisher, an expert at the National University of Singapore, said that given the unprecedented scale of the vaccine project, it is bound to face some setbacks.
“I don’t think you would be surprised if there were some communication breakdowns, some expectations not met, and a little competition and funding issues,” he said.
“Because it’s a huge scale of hundreds of millions – and then billions – trying to get into the arms of 8 billion people during an epidemic. It’s really complicated.”
Additional reporting by Reuters.