The COVAX program will deliver 237 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to some 142 countries by the end of May, the World Health Organization's Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced today.
COVAX is a program run by a coalition that includes the Vaccine Alliance known as Gavi and the World Health Organization (WHO), and is funded by donations from governments, multilateral institutions and foundations. Its mission is to buy coronavirus vaccines in bulk and send them to poorer nations that can't compete with wealthy countries in securing contracts with the major drug companies.
During a virtual press briefing, Tedros said that when the history of the pandemic is written, Covax “will be one of its standout successes.”
This week alone, COVAX will deliver a total of 11 million doses, according to Tedros.
“When the Covid-19 pandemic erupted last year, we knew that vaccines would be a vital tool in bringing it under control. But we also knew from our experience with HIV, the H1N1 pandemic and other diseases that market forces alone would not deliver the equitable distribution of vaccines,” Tedros said.
The vaccine rollout by the program is already underway, with Ghana and the Ivory Coast becoming the first countries to receive doses through COVAX last week, according to Tedros.