The COVAX initiative was launched in April last year to ensure the rapid and equitable distribution of corona virus vaccines to rich and poor countries and to vaccinate high-risk groups.
Led by the World Health Organization and several international health groups, it is affiliated with 190 countries, but has distanced itself from the United States because former President Donald Trump did not want to work with the WHO.
The first round distribution includes 336 million doses of the estrogeno-Oxford vaccine – 240 million produced by the Serum Institute of India and 96 million by AstraZeneca – as well as 1.2 million doses of the Pfizer-Bioendech vaccine.
But the plan is “uncontrolled and subject to change”, the actual allocation and distribution depends on the continued warning, from the WHO’s emergency use approval to the readiness of countries to receive and administer vaccines, the document said.
Dale Fisher, an epidemiologist at the National University of Singapore, said the interim forecast would allow countries to launch immunization strategies, including storage, distribution, databases and how to deal with vaccine reluctance.
“If they know some quantities are coming in the next month or two, it’s time to start preparing everything,” he said.
Both vaccines currently in the COVAX effort require two doses to provide full immunity. The Pfizer-Bioentech vaccine should be stored at minus 75 degrees Celsius or minus 103 degrees Fahrenheit. In comparison, the Astrogenega-Oxford vaccine can be refrigerated at 2C to 8C (36F to 46F) for at least six months, making transportation and distribution much easier, especially in developing countries where cold storage is not possible.
But only the Pfizer-Bioentech vaccine has so far received World Health Organization approval for emergency use. Evaluation of the Astrogenega-Oxford vaccine is currently underway.
According to the allocation plan, it is estimated that the distribution of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine will begin in late February if all requirements are met.
“We will soon begin providing life-saving vaccines worldwide, and we need a known outcome if we are to have a chance to overcome this epidemic,” said Seth Berkeley, chief executive of the CAV Alliance. One of the co-leaders of this initiative, in collaboration with Vaccines for Poor Countries and the WHO.
North Korea is also on the list, receiving nearly 2 million doses of the Astrogenega-Oxford vaccine. Pyongyang says not even a single case of Govt-19 has shrunk the country – experts say this is a lie.
Some rich, self-funded countries were also included in the initial distribution plan, such as South Korea, Canada, New Zealand and Singapore.
Kovacs aims to deliver 2 billion doses of corona virus vaccine to less developed countries by the end of this year, enough to vaccinate more than 20% of its member countries.
But with the challenges of getting enough funding and supplies, the question of whether that goal can be achieved has been around for a long time.
Fisher, an expert at the National University of Singapore, said that considering the unprecedented size of the vaccine program, it is facing some setbacks.
“I don’t think you’d be surprised if there were some communication breakdowns, some expectations not being met, and a little competition and financial issues,” he said.
“Because it’s trying to get into the hands of hundreds of millions – then billions – of 8 billion people during an epidemic. It’s very complicated.”
Additional Reuters report.
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