COVAX is co-led by Gavi, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI), and the World Health Organization (WHO) alongside UNICEF, the key delivery partner. COVAX is understood as the vaccine pillar of the Access to COVID-19 tools (ACT) Accelerator. The ACT Accelerator is a global collaboration for the development, production, and equitable access to tests, treatments, and vaccines for COVID-19.
It was launched to bring together global health organisations, manufacturers, governments, scientists, the private sector, and philanthropy, civil society to provide equitable and innovative access to COVID-19 related vaccines. It is the sole global solution to ensure that all in every corner of the world get accessibility to the COVID-19 vaccine on the availability of the same, regardless of their financial condition. 184 countries joined COVAX by 19th October 2020.
Process of COVAX Dose Allocation
Once any vaccine as mentioned in the COVAX portfolio successfully undergoes clinical trial and is found to be safe and effective, on receiving the regulatory approval, doses of available vaccine will be allocated to all participating countries and at the same rate proportional to the total population size.
WHO has given emergency use authorization to six vaccines that can be shared via COVAX Pfizer, Janssen, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Sinopharm, and Sinovac. But till now only two vaccines of these six have been delivered via the COVAX scheme. They are Pfizer and AstraZeneca.
Distribution of COVAX - Target Vs Reality
The distribution of vaccines under the COVAX started in February 2021. Its goal of providing 100 million vaccine doses by March 2021 was not reached until 6th July 2021. Also, by the mid of August, only 200 million doses were delivered to 140 countries against the projected target of 600 million doses.
Vaccine Nationalism by the rich countries is sighted as the reason behind the shortage of COVID-19 Vaccines delivered through COVAX [COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access]. The diversion of 400 million COVID 19 vaccine doses produced under the Serum Institute of India for the country's domestic use is another reason for the shortage of vaccines to meet the set targets. By April 2022, more than 1.4 billion doses have been delivered under COVAX, with Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Indonesia being the largest recipients.
Role of COVAX Facility
- To maximise the chances of the population of participating countries getting quick, fair, and safe access to COVID-19 vaccines.
- Joining the Facility will allow the participating countries to get access to the largest and most diverse COVID-19 portfolios along with an actively managed portfolio.
- To continuously monitor the COVID-19 vaccine landscape to identify the most suitable vaccine based on scientific merit and scalability.
- To work with manufacturers to incentivize them and encourage increased production capacity for the vaccines that have received regulatory approval.
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The effort put up via COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access to build an effective and comprehensive global solution in fighting against the pandemic has been remarkable. Many self-financing economies joining the COVAX facility have paved the road to signing agreements with vaccine manufacturers and developers to ensure the security of doses.
Countries are required to fill the funding gaps for R&D in COVID-19 vaccines. Also, it is essential for the Gavi COVAX AMC meets to fulfilling fundraising targets. As of the 15th of January 2022, 36 WHO member states have vaccinated less than 10% of their total population and 88 member states have vaccinated less than 40%.
FAQs of COVAX
Q.1. Why is COVAX Important?
Ans. The necessity and importance of COVAX lie in the mere fact that without it the majority of the people in the world will remain unprotected and at the risk of getting infected with SARS-COV-2, thereby allowing the virus and its impact to remain out of control.
Q.2. What is the Objective of COVAX?
Ans. COVAX is created to accelerate the chances of successfully developing COVID-19 vaccines in the required quantities to bring an end to the crisis that the world of suffering from. It also aims to ensure that people's ability to pay should not act as a barrier to accessing the vital vaccine.
Q.3. What is the full form of COVAX?
Ans. The full form of COVAX is COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access.
Q.4. Who manages COVAX?
Ans. COVAX is co-led by WHO, CEPI, and Gavi with UNICEF acting as the key delivery partner.