The World Health Organization (WHO) has come up with a unique pick and choose option for wealthier countries. A country gets to choose the shots they get while reserving its full share of COVID-19 vaccine doses. The change is aimed towards convincing countries that have negotiated their bilateral deals. As per the reports, the countries have already secured experimental vaccines for their citizens. However, WHO expects these countries to sign up for the worldwide COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility (COVAX) by 31 August.
The new changes are seen as many countries, including the United States, Japan, Britain, and the European Nation, have finalized their deals to secure millions of COVID-19 vaccines for their citizens. WHO has previously warned these countries about the squeezing of supplies because of their actions. United Nations (UN) agency is now trying to unite the world behind its vaccine. However, WHO is still finding it difficult to get wealthier countries on board with them.
172 countries in alliance with the COVAX initiative
COVAX is a global initiative aimed at working with vaccine manufacturers. It is led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, and WHO. This plan ensures that every country gets equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine without any discrimination. COVAX is believed to have the world’s most diverse and largest COVID-19 vaccine portfolio. Around 172 countries are engaging themselves with the COVAX plan. It is the only global initiative that is working with governments as well as the manufacturers to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are available to countries regardless of their wealth.
The most important step is the participation of countries working to create vaccines themselves to form a binding commitment with the COVAX initiative. This needs to be done so that there are enough doses to protect the most vulnerable populations like health workers and elderly people.
The research and development of the vaccines
CEPI is involving itself in the COVAX vaccine research and development work. The aim is to develop three safe and effective vaccines that can be made available to countries participating in the COVAX facility. A total of nine candidate vaccines are currently being supported by CEPI. Out of that, seven vaccines are currently in clinical trials.
According to the reports, 1.4 billion USD has been provided by governments, vaccine manufacturers, individuals, etc towards the research and development of the vaccine. An additional sum of 1 billion USD is needed to continue this work.
According to recent reports, the latest plan promises to get the best possible pricing of vaccines from the manufacturers for the countries. The deadline given to the countries is believed to be September 18. The payment is required by October 9.
COVAX aims to deliver two billion doses of safe and effective vaccines by the end of 2021. The vaccines are required to pass the regulatory approval or WHO prequalification. According to sources, more doses will be made available according to country needs and COVID-19 threat in those countries. The COVAX facility will also produce some doses for emergency and humanitarian purposes. This will also include dealing with outbreaks of COVID-19 before it gets out of control.