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COVAX global Covid vaccine program secures nearly 2 billion doses as UNICEF prepares for distribution

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COVAX global Covid vaccine program secures nearly 2 billion doses as UNICEF prepares for distribution

A pharmacist prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at UCI Medical Heart in Orange, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020.

Bing Guan| Bloomberg | Getty Pictures

The worldwide alliance aiming to offer poor nations with coronavirus vaccines stated Friday it has provide agreements to offer almost 2 billion doses and will start delivery them out within the first quarter as soon as permitted.

There are 190 international locations and territories collaborating in COVAX, which is co-led by the World Well being Group, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation. The ability stated it was capable of safe the doses by means of extra provide agreements with AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

COVAX stated it is planning for preliminary deliveries to start within the first quarter of 2021 if the medicine are permitted. There ought to be sufficient doses delivered within the first half of subsequent 12 months to guard well being and social care staff within the collaborating economies, the alliance stated. COVAX plans to ship no less than 1.3 billion doses to 92 international locations, that are all low- and lower-middle-income, collaborating within the facility by some level subsequent 12 months.

“The arrival of vaccines is giving all of us a glimpse of the sunshine on the finish of the tunnel,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Well being Group, stated in a press release. “However we are going to solely really finish the pandemic if we finish it in every single place on the identical time, which implies it is important to vaccinate some folks in all international locations, quite than all folks in some international locations.”

In the meantime, UNICEF on Friday stated it might ship as much as 850 tons of Covid-19 vaccines per 30 days for middle- to-low earnings international locations subsequent 12 months. Industrial airways will be capable of ship the vaccines to just about the entire 92 international locations collaborating within the COVAX, UNICEF stated in a press release.

The United Nations Youngsters’s Fund is an company of the United Nations that gives humanitarian help to kids worldwide. UNICEF will work alongside the Pan-American Well being Group, or PAHO, to coordinate vaccine procurements and assist ship the doses, in keeping with Gavi.

The humanitarian group stated that the photographs will seemingly be shipped primarily by means of current passenger and cargo flights, although some constitution flights or various transportation strategies can be wanted for hard-to-reach international locations.

Nevertheless, the world’s poorest international locations nonetheless face a $133 million funds gap for distributing and storing the doses, UNICEF stated. The airline deliveries would have an estimated value of as much as $70 million, in keeping with the group, which assessed international airfreight capability and transport routes.

International locations will face extra challenges as soon as the doses arrive, UNICEF stated.

The temperature necessities for the vaccines being developed vary and would require cold-chain provide strains, skilled medical personnel and stronger outreach efforts, stated Henrietta Fore, govt director at UNICEF, in a press release launched on Friday.

“This can be a mammoth and historic enterprise,” Fore stated in a press release. “The dimensions of the duty is daunting, and the stakes have by no means been larger, however we’re able to take this on.”

UNICEF stated it would want $410 million to assist international locations ship the vaccines and purchase therapeutic medicine and diagnostic instruments subsequent 12 months. Funding has been a problem for the COVAX facility, which faces a “very excessive” threat of failure due to lack of cash, provide dangers and sophisticated contract agreements, in keeping with a Reuters report from Wednesday, citing inner paperwork.

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