2 Billion Doses of Coronavirus Vaccine by the End of 2021: WHO

WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Photo: WHO
WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Photo: WHO

“Covid-19 is an unprecedented global crisis that demands an unprecedented global response,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization (WHO) on September 21. He unveiled a plan to have two billion doses of coronavirus vaccine available by the end of 2021.

According to WHO, roughly 64 per cent of the global population lives in a nation that has either committed to, or is eligible to join, the coronavirus Vaccines Global Access Facility, or COVAX.

This facility enables participating governments to spread the risk and costs of vaccine development and provide their populations with early access to vaccines.

“Working together through the COVAX Facility is not charity, it’s in every country’s best interest. We sink or we swim together,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Speaking at a press briefing with the international vaccine alliance GAVI, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the WHO chief said that commitment agreements have been secured and the COVAX Facility would begin signing contracts with vaccine manufacturers and developers.

The overarching goal of the COVAX Facility is to ensure that all countries have access to vaccines at the same time, and that priority is given to those most at risk, according to the WHO chief.

“The COVAX Facility will help bring the pandemic under control, save lives, accelerate the economic recovery and ensure that the race for vaccines is a shared endeavour, not a contest that only the rich can win,” he said. “Vaccine nationalism will only perpetuate the disease and prolong the global recovery.”

Tedros added that $5 billion is needed immediately to maintain momentum and stay on track for the vaccine development timelines.

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