COVAX Delivers 38M Covid-19 Vaccines So Far

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By Sue-Ann Wayow

SINCE its first international delivery to Ghana on February 24, the COVAX Facility has now delivered Covid-19  vaccines to over 100 economies but there is still no time for complacency as Covid-19 cases continue to rise globally.

A joint press release with the World Health Organization (WHO), Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, (UNICEF)  and  Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance issued on Thursday stated that more than 38 million doses of vaccines from manufacturers AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech and Serum Institute of India (SII) have now been delivered, including 61 economies eligible for vaccines through the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment.

Admitting that there were delays in planned deliveries for March and April, Gavi  stated that it is aiming to  supply vaccines to all participating economies that have requested vaccines, in the first half of 2021.

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Chief Executive Officer of Gavi, Dr Seth Berkley said, “In under four months since the very first mass vaccination outside a clinical setting anywhere in the world, it is tremendously gratifying that the roll-out of COVAX doses has already reached one hundred countries. COVAX may be on track to deliver to all participating economies in the first half of the year yet we still face a daunting challenge as we seek to end the acute stage of the pandemic: we will only be safe when everybody is safe and our efforts to rapidly accelerate the volume of doses depend on the continued support of governments and vaccine manufacturers. As we continue with the largest and most rapid global vaccine rollout in history, this is no time for complacency.”

CEPI’s CEO Dr Richard Hatchett said, “This is a significant milestone in the fight against Covid-19. Faced with the rapid spread of Covid-19 variants, global access to vaccines is fundamentally important to reduce the prevalence of the disease, slow down viral mutation, and hasten the end of the pandemic. The extraordinary scientific achievements of the last year must now be matched by an unprecedented effort to protect the most vulnerable, so the global community must remain firmly focused on reducing the equity gap in Covid-19 vaccine distribution.”

And UNICEF’s Executive Director Henrietta Fore said, “ However, this is no time to celebrate; it is time to accelerate. With variants emerging all over the world, we need to speed up global rollout. To do this, we need governments, along with other partners, to take necessary steps to increase supply, including by simplifying barriers to intellectual property rights, eliminating direct and indirect measures that restrict exports of Covid-19 vaccines, and donating excess vaccine doses as quickly as possible.”

According to its latest supply forecast, COVAX expects to deliver at least two billion doses of vaccines in 2021. In order to reach this goal, the COVAX Facility will continue to diversify its portfolio further, and will announce new agreements with vaccine manufacturers in due course, the release stated.

An additional US$2 billion is required in 2021 to finance and secure up to a total of 1.8 billion donor-funded doses of vaccines. COVAX is also working to secure additional sourcing of vaccines in the form of dose-sharing from higher income countries.



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