Imprisoned from rich countries and failing to meet the needs of the poorest, a program led by the World Health Organization (WHO) for the fair distribution of COVID-19 vaccines is planning a restructuring, internal documents show Reuters.
The COVAX program is far from its goal of offering 2 billion installments by the end of the year, but expects a large increase in supplies by early 2022 and wants to ensure that at least they reach the countries most in need.
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COVAX’s initial high ambitions to act as a vaccine diploma in the world, collecting from manufacturers in the most developed countries and quickly distributing to those most in need, have fallen through.
So far, it has distributed only 90 million vaccines. While densely populated low-income countries act as incubators for new and more dangerous coronavirus strains, some of the poorest countries have vaccinated less than 1% of their population, according to estimates by Gavi, a global vaccine alliance ο που.
The review aims to reduce COVAX’s financial risks, increase its focus on the countries most in need and reduce the participation of richer countries as donors and recipients, according to a document prepared by Gavi.
The document is expected to be approved at a meeting of Gavi’s board on Wednesday and Thursday.
“The proposal is, subject to the approval of the Board of Directors, to focus COVAX procurement efforts on all SFPs (self-financing participants) that will continue to need the facility, in a way that allows for simplified operations and reduced financial risks, “Based on the lessons learned in the last year,” said a spokesman for Gavi.
The WHO did not have a direct comment, but usually allows Gavi to speak for COVAX on his behalf.
PHILANTHROPY BEGINS FROM THE HOUSE
Rich countries generally preferred to use their economic influence to buy their own vaccines directly from the manufacturers.
And despite calls from the WHO to distribute any vaccine surplus through its program, the United States, Japan and the European Union have outlined all plans for donations to countries directly, as well as to COVAX.
By prioritizing their own diplomatic and commercial interests, wealthy nations have in fact undermined COVAX’s ambition to take overall responsibility for the global pandemic.
“The fact that Gavi’s board is now looking at how richer countries can continue to participate in the facility is partly a recognition that the facility is not working,” said Kate Elder, senior policy adviser on the medical aid team. Medecins Without Borders.
About 190 countries are members of COVAX, but a third do not use their vaccines and only about 40 have started their vaccination efforts with COVAX piercings, says the Gavi document.
In a separate internal document, Gavi estimates that membership could be reduced to 120-130 next year.
Many rich nations are expected to resign voluntarily, but the planned policy change will also make it more costly for middle-income countries to join.
While Gavi is now facing significant financial risks in ordering vaccines on behalf of its members, next year the middle-income nations that still need COVAX vaccines will have to pay in full in advance.
This means that countries in Latin America and the Middle East, as well as South Africa, may face higher costs and have to borrow money to secure installments.
HELP OF PORITO FIRST
However, the poorest countries, especially in Africa and Southeast Asia, will maintain the same conditions, with little or no cost to the vaccine market.
“The model will be redesigned with less flexible terms and conditions, with the aim of simplifying and reducing the financial risk of retaining countries in need of the facility, while discouraging other countries from continuing to participate beyond the end of 2021,” he said. one of the documents.
And that should have tangible benefits for the poorest countries.
COVAX has raised nearly $ 10 billion, above its target for this year, and has begun receiving some surplus installments from rich countries. However, the old mass markets of vaccines of rich countries and the restriction of exports from India, the main supplier of the facility, have left the poorer countries shortages.
Gavi believes that the projected increase in supply in the second half of the year could increase the share of those vaccinated in the poorest countries to almost 30% in early 2022.
Gavi plans to spend $ 775 million to help countries distribute these vaccines and prevent a recurrence of wasteful incidents caused by inadequate preparation and infrastructure.
With these countries facing a potential fivefold increase in monthly vaccine yields, the risk of such wastage is high, a document says.
The money will be used to boost COVAX’s delivery system, provide better refrigeration equipment and improve healthcare systems, Gavi said.