COVAX expects to reach its target of two billion doses in the first quarter of 2022
COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX), the multilateral global programme to make novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines available to the poorest people on the planet, is said to fall short by a quarter of its target at year-end, according to latest projections.
COVAX will be able to provide 1.2 billion doses in 2021 to lower income countries, according to a statement by the programme released September 8, 2021.
The vaccine programme originally intended to supply two billion doses this year. COVAX now expects to reach that target by the first quarter of 2022.
COVAX expects to have access to 1.425 billion doses of vaccine in 2021, according to its latest supply forecast, the statement noted.
Of these, the 1.2 billion doses available to low-income countries would be enough to protect 20 per cent of their populations or 40 per cent of their adult populations. The notable exception would be India, the statement said. Over 200 million doses will be allocated to self-financing participants.
Only 20 per cent of people in low- and lower-middle-income countries have received a first dose of vaccine compared to 80 per cent in high- and upper-middle income countries.
COVAX’s ability to protect the most vulnerable people in the world was and continued to be hampered by export bans, the prioritisation of bilateral deals by manufacturers and countries, ongoing challenges in scaling up production by some key producers and delays in filing for regulatory approval.
COVAX called upon manufacturers to deliver doses to it in accordance with firm commitments and provide transparency on timelines for availability to allow countries to plan in advance.
It also urged countries with high vaccination coverage to give up their place in the queue to COVAX so that its participants could access the doses already secured via supply contracts.
According to website Our world in data, 41.1 per cent of the world population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Some 5.57 billion doses have been administered globally and 31.92 million are now administered each day.
Only 1.9 per cent of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose.
The developing countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia are lagging behind in vaccinating their populations. Brazil has fully vaccinated 31.49 per cent of its peopole. In Africa, Egypt (3.36 per cent), Nigeria (0.73 per cent), Kenya (1.48 per cent), South Africa (11.24 per cent) show very slow rates of vaccination.
In south Asia too, vaccination is proceeding at a slow pace. Some 11.75 per cent of Indians are now fully vaccinated. Some of 5.39 per cent of Bangladeshis and 9.11 per cent of Pakistanis have been vaccinated.
COVAX is an initiative that was started by the World Health Organization (WHO), the European Commission and the government of France in April 2020. This was a month after the WHO declared COVID-19 to be a global pandemic March 11. Its aim was to ensure the poorest of countries too had access to the vaccine.
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