The global vaccine distribution program COVAX and the World Bank announced Monday a new mechanism for developing countries to gain better access to COVID-19 vaccines.
COVAX, under the plan, would be able to use financing from the World Bank to make advance purchases based on aggregate demand across countries, according to a news release from World Bank and Gavi on Monday.
“Accessing vaccines remains the single greatest challenge that developing countries face in protecting their people from the health, social, and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” World Bank Group President David Malpass said in the release.
“This mechanism will enable new supplies and allow countries to speed up the purchase of vaccines,” Malpass continued. “It will also provide transparency about vaccine availability, prices, and delivery schedules. This is crucial information as governments implement their vaccination plans.”
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Now countries with approved World Bank vaccine projects can agree with COVAX on the number of doses and delivery logistics. After a country makes a request “the World Bank will provide COVAX a payment confirmation, allowing COVAX to make advance purchases of large amounts of vaccine doses with manufacturers at competitive prices.”
The arrangement will also enable COVAX to deliver additional doses to fully vaccinate 250 million people in 92 low- and middle-income countries through 2021 and the middle of 2022.
“There will be several supply offerings where countries will have the opportunity to select and commit to procuring specific vaccines that align with their preferences,” according to the release.
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Gebreyesus said earlier in July that the world is “in the midst of a growing two-track pandemic where the haves and have-nots within and between countries are increasingly divergent.”
“Some countries and regions are actually ordering millions of booster doses before other countries have had supplies to vaccinate their health workers and most vulnerable,” he said at the time, adding that the global community is “making conscious choices right now not to protect those most in need.”
Data shows that slightly more than 27 percent of the world’s population has received at least one vaccine dose. Yet 1.1 percent of populations in low- or middle-income countries are partially vaccinated. Nearly 3.9 billion doses have been administered globally.
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