As Covid-19 vaccination continues to thrive globally, the COVAX initiative has so far shown done commendably well in leading the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history.
As of the time of this publication, COVAX has shipped 9,044,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines to African countries, reaching some of their target of 270 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to be delivered to low-and middle-income nations over the next three months.
African Countries And COVAX Doses Received So Far
In a bid to support Africa in reaching the 60 percent of population coverage for achieving herd immunity (The idea that when enough people are protected through vaccination, it makes it hard for a virus to continue to spread), COVAX has shipped about 9,044 million doses to Africa and plans on shipping more in the coming weeks.
So far Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Angola, Gambia, Congo, Senegal, Rwanda and Kenya have received their first vaccine doses via COVAX, with several other countries including Mali, Malawi and Uganda set to receive theirs this week.
Kenya received 1 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India. The minister said the vaccines will be administered to some 400,000 medical workers and the rest will go to other front-line workers such as teachers and police officers.
- Ghana – 600,000 doses
- Ivory Coast – 500,000 doses
- Nigeria – 3.92 million doses
- Angola – 624,000 doses
- Democratic Republic of Congo – 1,700,000 doses
- The Gambia – 36,000 doses
- Rwanda – 340,000 doses
The COVAX Initiative
COVAX is part of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, a framework for global collaboration that was launched by the World Health Organization (WHO), the European Commission, France and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in April 2020 in response to a call from G20 leaders in March 2020 at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
COVAX is co-managed by three partner agencies: The Vaccine Alliance (Gavi), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the WHO.
COVAX is the only global initiative that is working with governments and manufacturers to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are available worldwide to largely lower-income and middle-income countries that are unable to cover the expense of vaccinating a large percent of their population.
COVAX Gains and Struggles
The initial goal of the initiative was to procure and fairly distribute 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines across almost 200 countries and economies by the end of 2021 through a mechanism, the COVAX Facility, created by Gavi.
It is important to note that vaccine research and development is critical to achieving this goal, with an estimated $2.1 billion needed to move three COVID-19 vaccine candidates to licensure.
COVAX has been able to raise over 2 billion US Dollars so far, thanks to contributions from private sectors, and philanthropic sources and sovereign donors like the UK with the donation of $1 billion combined with £548 million pledged.
With the increasing pledge fulfillments, the initiative has moved its aim higher to deliver at least 2 billion shots this year.
However, COVAX is currently facing legally binding agreements that allow distribution for only several hundred million doses, and far fewer than that have been delivered due to delays relating to logistical issues.
According to a World Health Organization (WHO) representative on Tuesday, the delays in the delivery of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines was due to logistics concerns.
WHO representative to the Philippines Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe said one of the main challenges in the delivery process was the cold chain requirements and logistics handlers’ difficulty in ensuring large vaccine shipments worldwide.