Vaccines are an essential part of the solution to termination Covid-19 (The pandemic, since the early stages of the crisis, the World Health Organization)Who is theHe argued that coordinated attention was needed to ensure everyone, not just people living in rich countries, had adequate protection from the virus, as it was spreading rapidly around the world.
From this concern has grown global COVAX facility, The only global initiative that works with governments and manufacturers to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are available worldwide to both high-income and low-income countries.
Here are five things to know about the challenges you face COVAXAnd how can it be overcome.
1) Export Controls: The Weakest Link?
Early in the pandemic, UNICEF Building up stocks of half a billion syringes in warehouses outside the countries producing them. Its farsightedness paid off: countries imposed controls on the export of syringes, prices rose, and supplies were limited.
Several countries have imposed controls on the export of vaccines, which prompted the World Health Organization to warn against “vaccination nationalization”, which encourages hoarding and ultimately leads to raising prices and prolonging the duration of the epidemic, restrictions necessary to contain it, and human and economic suffering.
Getting a dose into the arms of people requires a complex global supply chain. From the ingredients needed to produce the vaccine, to stoppers, glass and plastic tubes, to syringes. For this reason, export bans or controls on any of these products can cause significant disruptions to the deployment of the vaccine.
Because of the many ways in which export controls can limit supply, poor countries will have a better chance to protect their citizens if they are able to manufacture vaccines themselves.
“WHO supports countries in their efforts to acquire and sustain vaccine production technology and capabilities,” says Diane Abad Vergara, COVAX Communications Leader at the agency, through initiatives such as a network of vaccine manufacturers in developing countries, helping them build additional manufacturing operations bases – especially in Africa and Asia. And Latin America – which will be essential to meet the continuing demand for COVID-19 booster vaccines and future vaccines. Expanding production globally would make poor countries less dependent on donations from rich countries. ”
2) Getting vaccinations to those who need them is not easy
While all countries that are part of COVAX have the infrastructure to get platforms of vaccines from cargo planes to refrigerated warehouses, the next steps can be more complex.
“Ghana, the first country to receive COVAX doses, has a good track record of dosing,” says Gian Gandhi, UNICEF Global Coordinator for COVAX, but other countries, such as those in Francophone West Africa, have found it difficult to mobilize the resources to split the doses and distribute them throughout Their lands are on the towns and villages they need. This means that in many poor countries, most doses are distributed in large urban centers.
“We want to ensure that no one is left behind, but in the short term, concentrating doses in cities at least means vaccinating health workers and other frontline workers in urban areas, where high population density puts them at greater risk of exposure,” says Mr Gandhi. Priority. “
3) More financing is needed to help startups in the poorest countries
One way to speed up vaccine release, and for delivery from urban warehouses to remote areas, is simply to pay with cash. “Funding is a constant concern, even in response to epidemics,” says Ms. Abad-Vergara. “To continue providing vaccines to its 190 members, COVAX needs at least $ 3.2 billion in 2021. The faster this funding target is achieved, the faster the vaccines reach people’s arms.”
Contributions from many countries, notably the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States, have come a long way in closing the vaccine financing gap. However, financing the delivery of these vaccines is a bigger problem.
UNICEF estimates that an additional $ 2 billion is needed to help the poorest 92 countries pay for essentials such as refrigerators, health worker training, vaccination costs, and refrigerated delivery truck fuel, and is calling on donors for $ 510 million of this. Available immediately as part of a humanitarian appeal to address urgent needs.
4) Rich countries should participate
COVAX finds itself in competition with individual countries making direct deals with pharmaceutical companies, which puts additional pressure on available supplies of COVID-19 vaccines. At the same time, rich countries may find themselves experiencing an overdose.
The current “me first” approach will ultimately cost more, in terms of lives, by Diane Abad Vergara, COVAX Communications Coordinator, World Health Organization
“We are calling on these countries to share their overdoses, and engage with COVAX and UNICEF as soon as possible,” says Mr Gandhi, “because it will take some legal, administrative and operational exercises to get them to where they are” re-needed. Unfortunately, we don’t currently see many high-income countries willing to participate. “
Abad Vergara warns that the current “me first” approach tends to favor those who can afford to pay more and will ultimately cost more money and in terms of lives. ” “But it is important to note that bilateral deals do not prevent any country from receiving doses or contributing to COVAX, particularly through dose sharing.”
5) Vaccine frequency: an ongoing cause for concern
Despite the overwhelming evidence that vaccination saves lives, the reluctance to receive the vaccine, which is present in every country, remains a problem that needs continuous treatment.
This phenomenon is partly driven by misleading information surrounding all aspects of COVID-19, which was a concern even before the declaration of a global health emergency, and in May, the United Nations launched the verification campaign, which fights lies and distorted messages, with the credibility and accuracy of information surrounding the crisis.
“Throughout the pandemic, there was an enormous amount of misinformation going around,” says Ms Abad-Vergara. “The World Health Organization is working hard to combat it, as well as building confidence in vaccines, and engaging different communities.”