In what is being said as an initiative to provide countries worldwide equitable access to safe and effective vaccines, 172 nations are now engaging to potentially participate in COVAX – a global pool for the COVID-19 vaccine.
However, more funds are needed and countries are now having to make bidding commitments in the vaccine plan, WHO said on Monday.
According to the announcement, ‘potential self-financing participants’ will have to pitch by August 31st and bid by September 18th.
“COVID-19 is an unprecedented global health challenge that can only be met with unprecedented cooperation between governments, researchers, manufacturers, and multilateral partners,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO said in a media statement.
“By pooling resources and acting in solidarity through the ACT Accelerator and the COVAX Facility, we can ensure that once a vaccine is available for COVID-19, it’s available equitably to all countries.”
COVAX is the vaccine counterpart for the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, which is a joint collaboration between the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the World Health Organization (WHO).
The facility aims to hoard and supply 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine by the end of 2021 which will be made widely available. COVAX is the world’s only initiative that is working to bring equal vaccine access to both higher-income and lower-income nations.
WHO’s announcement comes amid hundreds of COVID-19 vaccines that are currently under development across the nations. However, WHO has raised alarm on ‘vaccine nationalism‘ where powerful nations prevent a free flow of potential vaccine against diseases from the wide world.
The global health body sees as a barrier that will prevent an equitable and fair distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.