The world is on its way to achieving its goal of ensuring that both high- and low-income countries have access to new vaccines at more or less the same time. Through deals secured with AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and others, more than two billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine candidates have been secured by the COVAX Facility, as well as the first right of refusal to another billion promising candidates in the COVAX R&D portfolio.
By the end of 2021, COVAX’s 190 participating economies will be able to reach up to 20% of their populations.
Normally, low-income countries have to wait much longer than wealthier countries for access to new vaccines, either because of low availability or high prices. The COVAX Facility was created to avoid this by ensuring equitable access, coupled with support on how to ensure country rollout, such as strengthening infrastructure, training and capacity, and making sure appropriate legal frameworks are in place.
This includes 98 higher-income economies and 92 low- and middle-income economies eligible to have their participation in the Facility supported via the financing mechanism known as the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC).
Rollout in early 2021
Vaccine roll-outs are due to start in early 2021 – depending on country readiness and regulatory approvals – with all health and social care workers immunised by the middle of next year. By the end of 2021, COVAX’s 190 participating economies will be able to reach up to 20% of their populations, if requested, with vaccines.
Ensuring financial sustainability
Through sovereign, private sector and philanthropic donors, more than US$ 2 billion has already been raised in 2020, but at least US$ 4.6 billion more is needed in 2021 to secure doses of other successful candidates as and when they are approved and become available.
This will be critical to ensure that the roll-out of the vaccines is not contingent on people’s ability to pay.