Objectives revised downwards. Covax, the device for distributing doses of Coronavirus vaccine to all countries in the world, regardless of their wealth, hopes to vaccinate 20% of the world’s population in poor countries by the end of the year. A rate below that expected because Covax remains dependent on donations of vaccines by the richest countries which monopolize the doses.
“Today, Covax’s ability to protect the world’s most vulnerable people continues to be hampered by export bans, priority given to bilateral agreements between manufacturers and countries, difficulties in increasing production of some key producers and delays in submitting license applications, ”said organizations including the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) and WHO in a joint statement.
Inequality of access remains “unacceptable”
The Covax system is supposed to allow 92 disadvantaged states and territories to receive free vaccines funded by more prosperous nations. But the founders of Covax regularly denounce the glaring inequality in access to vaccination between the populations of poor countries and rich countries. In their statement, the organizations stress that inequality of access remains “unacceptable”, with only 20% of people in low- and lower-middle-income countries having received a first dose of the vaccine, compared to 80% in income countries. high and upper middle.
For its part, Covax has so far only been able to distribute 243 million doses in 139 underprivileged countries, said at a press conference Ann Ottosen, of the supplies division of the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), at a press conference. “Most countries around the world have now received doses of Covax. This is just the beginning, ”said Dr. Seth Berkley, who heads Gavi. “We expect to have 1.1 billion additional doses to deliver by the end of the year,” he said.
1.425 billion doses instead of two
According to its latest forecast published on Wednesday, Covax hopes to have a total of 1.425 billion doses in 2021, when the system was initially counting on two billion. Covax now expects to reach this deadline in the first quarter of 2022. Poor countries participating in Covax will receive the vast majority of the more than 1.4 billion doses this year (1.2 billion), “which is enough to protect about 20% of the population, or about 40% of adults in these countries, without taking India into account, ”explained Seth Berkley.
The Serum Institute of India (SII), a large producer of AstraZeneca vaccines, was initially intended to play a leading role in the delivery of vaccines ensured under the Covax system but, due to the explosion of the pandemic in that country , New Delhi has banned their export to combat the spread of Covid-19 on Indian territory.