COVAX: A Fair Solution for COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

In an exclusive report by Reuters, 76 countries from both developed and developing regions have joint their hands together to support Covid-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) facility, a mechanism designed to guarantee rapid, fair, and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines worldwide.

The group includes representatives from every continent and more than half of the world’s G20 economies including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Nevertheless, the two biggest economies i.e. the United States (US) and China have not yet entered any agreement with the leading organizations for COVAX.

COVAX, known as the global coordinated plan for fair vaccine distribution, is co-led by Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). In addition to the agenda for equal distribution of the vaccine, the main aim of COVAX includes lowering the costs of the drug and focusing on first vaccinating the most high-risk people in every country.

COVAX’s Ambition

Seth Berkley, chief executive of the GAVI vaccines alliance, stated in a statement on Wednesday, September 2, 2020, that the global platform would effectively fight and end to the COVID-19 outbreak, which has taken over 860,000 lives globally. Under the goal of “no one is safe unless everyone is safe,” COVAX aims to prevent the efforts of national governments from hoarding COVID-19 vaccines.

Berkley told Reuters in an interview, “We have, as of right now, 76 upper middle income and high-income countries that have submitted confirmations of intent to participate – and we expect that number to go up.” WHO explained that the participants of COVAX agreed to finance the vaccine purchases from their national budgets, and partner with 92 poorer nations through voluntary donations to ensure vaccines are delivered as per Gavi’s COVAX Advance Market Commitment.

Moreover, the alliance also aims to procure and deliver 2 billion doses of the WHO’s approved vaccines by the end of 2021 by stressing “COVAX is the only truly global solution to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Berkley said. The vaccines, according to GAVI, would be distributed among participants proportional to their populations.

Deadline in Weeks

Describing COVAX as an “invaluable insurance policy” for all countries, WHO urged countries to support the plan as soon as possible since the plan’s coordinators have set a deadline of September 18 for countries signing up to make binding commitments. Earlier, WHO revealed that scientists across the globe were in a search for finding a cure and have developed around 20 potential vaccines, which are currently under the phase-III clinical test.

WHO stated in a statement, “The Vaccine Alliance brings together developing country and donor governments, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry, technical agencies, civil society, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and other private sector partners.”

Gates Foundation has been supporting since the Gavi COVAX AMC was launched in June 2020, to make the Covid-19 vaccine available to poor countries. On Wednesday, as a positive note of the group, the European Union (EU) said that the member states could buy potential COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX.