By Gabriel Olawale
The COVAX Facility has now delivered life-saving vaccines to over 100 countries since making its first international delivery to Ghana on 24 February 2021.
So far, more than 38 million doses of vaccines from manufacturers AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, and Serum Institute of India, SII, have now been delivered, including 61 counties eligible for vaccines through the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment.
Nigeria has received 3.92 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine out of the 16 million doses allocated.
COVAX aims to supply vaccines to all participating countries that have requested vaccines, in the first half of 2021, despite some delays in planned deliveries for March and April.
Speaking on the milestone, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Dr Seth Berkley said it is gratifying that the roll-out of COVAX doses has already reached 100 countries under four months since the very first mass vaccination outside a clinical setting began anywhere in the world.
“COVAX may be on track to deliver to all participating countries in the first half of the year yet we still face a daunting challenge as we seek to end the acute stage of the pandemic: we will only be safe when everybody is safe and our efforts to rapidly accelerate the volume of doses depend on the continued support of governments and vaccine manufacturers.
“As we continue with the largest and most rapid global vaccine rollout in history, this is no time for complacency.”
On his part, the Director-General of the World Health Organisation, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “COVAX has given the world the best way to ensure the fastest, most equitable rollout of safe and effective vaccines to all at-risk people in every country on the planet.
“If we are going to realise this great opportunity, countries, producers, and the international system must come together to prioritise vaccine supply through COVAX. Our collective future, literally, depends on it.”
COVAX expects to deliver at least 2 billion doses of vaccines in 2021. In order to reach this goal, the COVAX Facility will continue to diversify its portfolio further and will announce new agreements with vaccine manufacturers in due course.
Furthermore, in March it was announced that the United States government will host the launch event for the 2021 Gavi COVAX AMC Invest Opportunity to catalyze further commitment and support for accelerated access to vaccines for AMC-supported economies. An additional US$ 2 billion is required in 2021 to finance and secure up to a total of 1.8 billion donor-funded doses of vaccines. COVAX is also working to secure additional sourcing of vaccines in the form of dose-sharing from higher-income countries.