The first supply of lifesaving jabs arrived in Ghana on 24 February.
Announcing the news on Thursday, the World Health Organization (WHO) mentioned that more than 38 million doses of AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech and Serum Institute of India-produced pictures (one of many AstraZeneca vaccines often known as COVISHIELD) have been transported globally to this point.
AstraZenica jabs have ‘saved millions’
The improvement comes as WHO and different well being regulators reaffirmed the overwhelming worth of the AstraZeneca (or AZ) COVID-19 vaccine, amid ongoing issues about clotting occasions amongst a really small quantity who’ve had the jab.
WHO listed two variations of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, after cautious consideration over 4 weeks of research, for emergency use on 15 February, to be rolled out globally by means of COVAX.
In statements on Wednesday night, the WHO’s Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety, the European Medicines Agency and the UK’s regulator all concluded that the advantages of taking the AZ vaccine “outweigh the very rare potential risks”.
190 million doses
More than 190 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines have been administered up to now, however solely 182 instances of clotting have been reported, WHO mentioned, in its recommendation to countries to proceed to vaccinate with the AZ vaccine, noting that it has “saved millions of lives and prevented serious illness”.
Despite decreased provide availability in March and April – the results of vaccine producers optimising their manufacturing processes within the early section of the rollout, in addition to elevated demand for COVID-19 vaccines in India – COVAX “expects to deliver doses to all participating economies that have requested vaccines in the first half of the year”, mentioned the press launch issued by WHO.
“COVAX has given the world the best way to ensure the fastest, most equitable rollout of safe and effective vaccines to all at-risk people in every country on the planet,” mentioned WHO chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
“If we are going to realize this great opportunity, countries, producers and the international system must come together to prioritize vaccine supply through COVAX. Our collective future, literally, depends on it.”
‘Time to accelerate’
Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director, mentioned that regardless of all that had been achieved in only a month and a half, “this is no time to celebrate; it is time to accelerate.
“With variants emerging all over the world, we need to speed up global rollout. To do this, we need governments, along with other partners, to take necessary steps to increase supply, including by simplifying barriers to intellectual property rights, eliminating direct and indirect measures that restrict exports of COVID-19 vaccines, and donating excess vaccine doses as quickly as possible.”
“It is tremendously gratifying that the roll-out of COVAX doses has already reached one hundred countries,” mentioned Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of (*100*), the Vaccine Alliance.
“COVAX may be on track to deliver to all participating economies in the first half of the year yet we still face a daunting challenge as we seek to end the acute stage of the pandemic: we will only be safe when everybody is safe and our efforts to rapidly accelerate the volume of doses depend on the continued support of governments and vaccine manufacturers.”
According to its newest provide forecast, COVAX expects to ship no less than 2 billion doses of vaccines in 2021, which can imply having to proceed including new vaccines to its portfolio. New agreements with producers are being introduced “in due course”, in line with WHO and companions.
Last month, it was introduced that the United States would host a launch occasion – going down subsequent week – for what’s being known as the (*100*) COVAX AMC Investment Opportunity, referring to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment, which goals to make sure that the world’s poorest nations get entry to the life-saving vaccines.
An extra $2 billion is required in 2021 to finance and safe as much as a complete of 1.8 billion donor-funded doses of vaccines. The COVAX partnership can be working to safe extra sourcing of vaccines within the type of dose-sharing from greater revenue countries.