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WHO urges countries to join Covid-19 vaccine facility

by BustopTV

By Lerato Ndlovu                                      

World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged it’s member states to engage in a vaccine facility so as to help curb the spread of the corona virus.

WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus today in his speech stated that 172 countries are engaging with COVAX Global Vaccines Facility which has nine vaccines in its portfolio.

“I sent a letter to all Member states last week requesting them to join the vaccine arm of the Act Accelerator, I am pleased to announce that as of today 172 countries are now engaging with the COVAX Global Vaccines Facility, which has both the largest and most diverse COVID-19 vaccine portfolio in the world.

“At present there are nine vaccines that are part of this dynamic portfolio; which is constantly being reviewed and optimised to ensure access to the best possible range of products, discussions are also ongoing with four more producers, and a further nine vaccines are currently under evaluation for the longer term.”

He stated that the success of the COVAX Facility depends not only on countries signing up to it, but also filling key funding gaps for both the research, development work and to support lower-income economies within the facility.

Supply of resources will be limited as it will be limited to those at the highest risk including health workers, the immuno-compromised and the elderly.

He also alluded that the facility is a critical mechanism for joint procurement and pooling risk across multiple vaccines so that countries will access whatever vaccine is proven to be safe and effective.

“We’re working with vaccine manufacturers to provide all countries that join the effort timely and equitable access to all vaccines, licensed and approved. This doesn’t just pool risk, it also means that prices will be kept as low as possible.

“New research outlines that global competition for vaccine doses could lead to prices spiking exponentially in comparison to a collaborative effort such as the COVAX Facility. It would also lead to a prolonged pandemic as only a small number of countries would get most of the supply.

“The world has so far invested 12 trillion dollars in keeping economies moving. Investing in the COVAX Facility is the fastest way to end this pandemic and ensure a sustainable economic recovery,” he said.

“Through the allocation framework, COVAX will ensure that low-, middle- and high-income countries all receive the vaccine in a timely way as soon as there is supply of a safe and effective vaccine”.

He went on to say as supply increases since a number of vaccines are now in final stages of clinical trials, the next stage of the vaccine rollout would be expanded based on an assessment of each country’s vulnerability to the virus.

WHO’s goal is to deliver at least two billion doses of safe, effective vaccines by the end of 2021.

He concluded by urging people to practice social distancing, good hygiene, wear masks, and keep informed, so as to collectively break the chains of transmission, as governments hone their track and trace systems to test, isolate and care for patients, and trace and quarantine their contacts.

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