During a virtual Q&A regarding the COVID-19 vaccines, WHO IVB Director, Kate O'Brien and Deputy Executive Director of ICDDR, Alejandro Cravioto, said that the poorest nations across the world can expect their vaccines between the end of January and middle of February. “There are a number of vaccines that actually work against the disease”, said Kate during the virtual Q&A. Talking about COVAX, which is a globally-pooled vaccine distribution effort, Kate said, “The facility has access to over two billion doses of vaccine. That’s how countries in Africa and South Asia, and other countries around the world of these 92 that are less able to afford vaccines, are actually going to get vaccines”.
COVAX is an initiative co-led by WHO, the Gavi vaccine alliance and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Chair of the Gavi Board, said that Gavi aims to “serve the twin goals of moving forward rapidly with our need to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines”. The board also said that it has approved the provision of US$ 150 million in initial funding to jumpstart support COVAX AMC-eligible countries.
Recently, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom said COVID-19 pandemic entered a new phase where “solidarity needed like never before”. Talking about COVAX, he said that the initiative had already been backed by 190 countries and economies. He demanded quick supply vaccines so that roll-out could begin at the earliest and those at high-risk, could be protected.
COVAX is one of the three pillars of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator that aims at innovative and equitable access to COVID-19 diagnostics, treatment and vaccine. WHO chief, who expressed concerns about vaccine nationalism, had previously asked the international communities to contribute a sum of $4 million in a bid to aid the purchase of vaccines for distribution in lower and middle-income countries through the COVAX vaccine facility. The WHO Director-General also stressed that if all countries act together, then humankind could beat the virus and prohibit to mutate further. “Morally, economically, socially & for global security, we must act together right now", he said.