Seventy-six wealth nations have promised to back the global COVID-19 vaccine pool COVAX, as the September deadline for the enrollment nears.
WHO, in association with Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance launched the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator initiative and the vaccine arm was named COVAX.
The idea behind this is to ensure nations across the world, irrespective of their economy, are able to get access to the vital COVID-19 vaccine once developed.
Usually, the most powerful nations often hold the privileges of the most advanced vaccine and hoard it for their citizens. But a disease like COVID-19 requires a co-operated approach to combat spread, which is impossible to go alone.
As per the Reuters exclusive reveal, the chief executive of Gavi Alliance – one of the COVAX arms, said seventy-six other nations, including Japan, Germany, and Norway are now in the initiative.
“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,” GAVI alliance chief Seth Berkley told Reuters.
This is good news, Berkley said, adding that COVAX is attracting the type of international attention that initiators have earlier thought about.
The announcement comes as the US – the global superpower, under the Trump administration slammed WHO for being ‘corrupt’ along with China, and said the nation will not partake in any policies whee WHO and China is involved.
A White House statement announced that the US will not join COVAX, which critics warned is a move that could endanger the nation’s public health if the COVAX pool comes up with a vaccine faster than the US.
It must be noted, China is yet to join the COVAX initiative, but the alliance is in talks regarding potential coordination. Although there is no formal agreement Beijing has given a positive signal, Berkley said.
Berkley further added, he was not surprised by Washington’s denial to join the COVAX but nonetheless, they’ll initiate communications with Washington.
Revealing another recent development, the European Union also showed interest in the COVID-19 vaccine alliance. It said some of its member states may buy the vaccine from the pool.
So far, the novel coronavirus has claimed 860,000 lives globally while infecting more than 26 million people. The US alone has more than 6 million cases, and the majority of the remaining 20 million are taken by South America and India.
The COVAX initiative aims to deliver over 2 billion doses of perfected COVID-19 vaccine by the end of 2022 and make them available for all the member nations.