UN-backed program targets deployment of 100 million doses of vaccine in first quarter

GENEVA (AP) – A UN-backed program to roll out COVID-19 vaccines to probably the most needy individuals around the globe, particularly in poor nations, on Wednesday introduced plans for an preliminary distribution of round 100 million doses by the tip of March and over 200 million extra by the tip of June.

The COVAX facility, which seeks to distribute vaccines equitably at a time of provide shortages, mentioned virtually all anticipated doses for the primary section would come from Anglo-Swedish drug maker AstraZeneca and its accomplice, the Serum Institute. of India.

Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, mentioned COVAX is planning the preliminary distribution of 336 million doses of the vaccine, which AstraZeneca has developed with the College of Oxford, by means of June in dozens of nations.

GAVI predicts that just about a 3rd of these doses – greater than 100 million – will start to be delivered to focus on nations by the tip of March, officers mentioned.

A further 1.2 million doses of the vaccine from Pfizer in the US and its German accomplice BioNTech are anticipated to be shared by 18 nations throughout the first quarter of the yr.

Deployment of the AstraZeneca vaccine will rely on the vaccine being accepted by the World Well being Group for emergency use, which is anticipated to happen this month. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has already obtained such approval, however delivering it to the poorest nations is a problem as a result of the vaccine requires storage at extraordinarily chilly temperatures.

These deployments rely on regulatory approvals and the willingness of nations to obtain vaccines.

Some 190 nations and territories taking part in COVAX had been awaiting particulars of the deployment. Contributors embrace high- and middle-income “self-financing” nations which have invested the cash and 93 low-income nations which might be anticipated to profit.

WHO officers have constantly mentioned the best way to beat the pandemic was to ensure everybody was secure from it – not simply these in wealthier nations who launched vaccination campaigns in December.

COVAX confronted challenges as wealthy nations grabbed shares of vaccines, typically at excessive costs, and undermined WHO’s purpose of equitable vaccine distribution. Program managers have confronted issues attempting to strike offers with pharmaceutical producers, and solely a fraction of the two billion doses which were obtained for COVAX contain agency offers.

The 18 nations that can obtain the Pfizer vaccine are Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia, Cabo Verde, Colombia, El Salvador, Georgia, Maldives, Moldova, Mongolia, Peru, Philippines, South Korea , Rwanda, South Africa, Tunisia and Ukraine. in addition to the Palestinian territories.

COVAX has raised greater than $ 6 billion of the $ 8 billion wanted to cowl procurement and distribution to the poorest nations, together with a $ 4 billion dedication from the US Congress in December. The European Union and its members pledged round $ 800 million and Britain added greater than $ 700 million, GAVI officers mentioned.

GAVI the Vaccine Alliance leads COVAX with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation and WHO.

Initially printed February 3, 2021 at 3:06 pm

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