by Hector Pascua with reports from orf.at
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 64 high-income countries have committed themselves to financially support the equitable distribution of a coronavirus vaccine worldwide. Among them are Germany, Great Britain, France and many other European countries, but not the USA. The signature of 38 other governments is expected in the next few days, the WHO reported yesterday in Geneva.
China is also not yet participating in the WHO’s “Covax Initiative”. However, there are permanent talks with all governments of the world, said the head of the Gavi vaccine alliance, Seth Berkley. On the one hand, these 64 countries are securing access to nine vaccine candidates supported by Covax. Some have also independently secured vaccine doses through pre-contracts with individual companies should the company be successful. On the other hand, they are committed to helping 92 low and middle income countries participating in the program to purchase vaccine doses.
The WHO has set a target of providing two billion doses of a vaccine by the end of 2021. The prerequisite is that an efficient vaccine is found and approved by the authorities as quickly as possible. It assumes that two vaccine doses per person are needed.
35 of the 38 billion dollars needed are still missing
Covax is a collaboration between governments and pharmaceutical companies. On the one hand, this is intended to accelerate research into vaccines and medicines against Covid-19, the disease that causes the virus. At the same time, Covax aims to ensure that a tested vaccine reaches the people who need it most first, in all countries, regardless of the financial means of their governments. These include healthcare workers and patients with pre-existing conditions where infection would be very dangerous.
According to the WHO, three billion dollars have been provided for Covax so far – but 38 billion dollars are needed, as WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
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