COVID 19: COVAX rolls out globally in H1 2021 – WHO

COVAX has announced its arrangements to access nearly two billion doses of COVID-19 in the first half of 2021.

Dr Tedros Adhanom, Head of the World health organization (WHO), COVID-19

COVAX, a global initiative, has put plans in place to access nearly two billion doses of various COVID-19 vaccine candidates in the first half of 2021, to aid rapid and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for all countries, regardless of income level.

This was disclosed in the WHO report, where COVAX announced the arrangement is on behalf of 190 participating economies in the first half of 2021, contingent upon regulatory approvals and countries’ readiness for delivery.

According to WHO report,

  • At least 1.3 billion donor-funded doses will be made available to 92 economies eligible for the Gavi COVAX AMC, targeting up to 20% population coverage by the end of the year 2020.
  • Given these arrangements for 2 billion doses of vaccine candidates which are still under development, COVAX will continue developing its portfolio. This will be critical to achieving its goal of securing access to 2 billion doses of safe and effective vaccines, that are suitable for all participants’ contexts and available by the end of 2021.
  • However, today’s announcements offer the clearest pathway yet to end the acute phase of the pandemic by protecting the most vulnerable populations around the world. This includes delivering at least 1.3 billion donor-funded doses of approved vaccines in 2021 to the 92 low- and middle-income economies eligible for the COVAX AMC.
  • The new deals announced today include the signing of an advance purchase agreement with AstraZeneca for 170 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford candidate, and a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Johnson & Johnson for 500 million doses of the Janssen candidate, which is currently being investigated as a single-dose vaccine.
  • These deals are in addition to existing agreements COVAX has with the Serum Institute of India (SII) for 200 million doses – with options for up to 900million doses more – of either the AstraZeneca/Oxford or Novavax candidates, as well as a statement of intent for 200 million doses of the Sanofi/GSK vaccine candidate.

According to Dr. Richard Hatchett, CEO of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI),

  • “This commitment is evidence that the world learned an important lesson from the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. Our research and development efforts have begun to pay off. We now have safe and effective vaccines that can protect against COVID-19 and a clear pathway to securing 2 billion doses for the populations at greatest risk all around the world. Securing the right of first refusal of successful vaccine production as part of R&D arrangements has helped guarantee equitable access to vaccines, a founding principle of CEPI. The challenge of delivering the vaccines that have demonstrated success, completing the development of other promising vaccine candidates to further increase supply, and ending the acute phase of the pandemic, lies ahead of us.”

According to Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO),

  • “The arrival of vaccines is giving all of us a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel. But we will only truly end the pandemic if we end it everywhere at the same time, which means it’s essential to vaccinate some people in all countries, rather than all people in some countries. And we must remember that vaccines will complement, but not replace, the many other tools we have in our toolbox to stop transmission and save lives. We must continue to use all of them.”

According to Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance,

  • Securing access to doses of a new vaccine for both higher-income and lower-income countries, at roughly the same time and during a pandemic, is a feat the world has never achieved before – let alone at such unprecedented speed and scale. COVAX has now built a platform that offers the world the prospect, for the first time, of being able to defeat the pandemic on a global basis, but the work is not done – it’s critical that both governments and industry continues to support our efforts to achieve this goal.

According to Dr. John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC),

  • Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Africa CDC has established several trusted partnerships across the globe. The COVAX partnership is one of such very critical alliances that will allow Africa to secure early access to COVID-19 vaccine needed to start vaccinating our populations across the continent.”

According to Dr. Ngozi-Okonjo Iweala, co-chair of the COVAX Coordination Meeting and Gavi Board Chair,

  • Nine months ago, it was hard to imagine that we would have more than one promising vaccine candidate and be in a position to make them available to both high-income countries and lower-income countries simultaneously. The global community has rallied, and we now have a platform, COVAX, that will do this. It’s time to stop questioning it and give it the support it needs to bring the pandemic to an end as swiftly as possible.”
  • COVAX is the vaccine pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) for accelerating the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.
  • COVAX is co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and WHO.
  • Its aim is to accelerate the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines, and to guarantee fair and equitable access for every country in the world.
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