COVID-19 vaccines: ‘landmark moment’ as 156 countries sign COVAX deal

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COVID-19 vaccines: ‘landmark moment’ as 156 countries sign COVAX deal

A landmark moment achieved at a global level after 156 countries sign an agreement. The deal enables quick global distribution of new COVID-19 vaccines to 3 percent of the population for the participating countries. It will cater to vulnerable healthcare institutions, social care systems, and frontline workers promptly.

The coronavirus vaccine allocation strategy is co-led by WHO and named COVAX. It ensures that research, distribution, and purchase of new COVID-19 vaccines go equally to the wealthiest countries as much to the developing ones.

The list of countries includes 64 high economies and commitments from 35 economies along with the European Commission. The Commission will obtain doses for 27 EU member states and Iceland and Norway, and 38 more will join eventually. The scheme targets sending 2 billion safe doses of coronavirus vaccines worldwide by the end of 2021.

Vaccine manufacturers, organizations, governments, and individuals commit to sponsoring $1.4 billion towards the coronavirus vaccine development and research.

How will Covax deal help supply coronavirus vaccines?

The COVAX deal will start with a short supply of approved doses. Thus, only 3 percent of each country’s population will get it. Slowly, it will increase to 20 percent and go to the most vulnerable people – frontline workers, elderly, and kids.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the UN health body, unveiled the deal during a briefing at Geneva on September 21. He said that Covax represents the most extensive and diverse profile of COVID-19 vaccines. Also, they will give priority to people who are at risk.

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The best part about the Covax deal is that it ensures global coordination. It will help everyone bring the pandemic in control together. Moreover, this assures that there is no content or race for coronavirus vaccines. It will equally reach out to people who are most in need. Thus, the vaccine will reach some people in all the countries, instead of all the people in some countries. It eliminates the possibilities of partiality and gives all the country onboard equal importance.

The unveiled document records an arrangement under the signed scheme. It states that every country will receive tranches of vaccines to cover every subset of their primary target group. Also, the first lot will cover 3 percent of a country’s population.

The document also records that the vaccine scenario right now is scarce. Thus, the COVAX deal must not stop people from reducing mortality and protect healthcare systems.

At first, the vaccines will only go to the frontline workers and people in social care settings. The additional tranches that follow will gradually reach the rest of the people.

The decision to vaccinate people under this scheme will be controlled by countries individually. But the nations will consider the recommendations and be transparent with their decision-making regarding the ultimate vaccine usage.

Why is the COVAX deal significant?

The COVAX deal not only ensures that all signing countries agree on the strategy but also to stop “vaccine nationalism.” The World Health Organization, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovations, and the Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance lead the deal. Together, they will make vaccines accessible for everyone who signs the deals. Soon Gavi informed that COVAX is “in business,” which means they have already started working.

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CEO of Gavi, Dr. Seth Berkley, said that all governments had come together to secure vaccines. They not only ensure the welfare of their countries but also to all other places where it is the need of the hour. He went onto announce the COVAX facility and called it a historic partnership for the industry. Lastly, he said that the chances of battling the pandemic are more potent than before, as now vaccines will be more effective.

CEO of CEPI, Dr. Richard Hatchett, called this a “landmark moment” and never seen in the history of global health. He said that international communities are joining hands to battle the coronavirus pandemic. Moreover, just like the COVID-19 spread from one country to another, the right way to battle it will also be spreading the vaccine in the same way!

As counties come together to fight a pandemic, it reflects unity to resolve an acute phase of a pandemic. Now, the authorities need to work closely with manufacturers who will play the most crucial part. Only they can put in place the agreements required to fulfill the target of the COVAX facility – having 2 billion doses by the end of next year. Currently, the most significant step was to leap into unity and have the same vision.

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