^

World

Covax delivers one billionth Covid vaccine dose

Agence France-Presse
Covax delivers one billionth Covid vaccine dose
Aid workers check a shipment of vaccines against the coronavirus sent to Sudan by the Covax vaccine-sharing initiative, shortly after an Emirates plane landed at the airport in the capital Khartoum, on October 6, 2021.
AFP / Ebrahim HAMID

GENEVA, Switzerland — The Covax scheme aimed at equitable global access to Covid-19 vaccines hit a "key milestone" Saturday when it delivered its one billionth dose, one of its key backers said.

The Covax facility was set up in 2020 by the World Health Organization, Gavi the Vaccine Alliance and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations to ensure that poorer countries can access the vaccines needed to battle the pandemic.

"Covax has delivered its first billionth dose of Covid-19 vaccines to 144 countries & territories across the world," Gavi chief executive Seth Berkley tweeted.

"It's a key milestone in the largest and most rapid global vaccine rollout in history."

Berkley said that when the plane carrying the shipment with the one billionth dose had touched down in Kigali, Rwanda Saturday evening, "I felt proud but also humbled knowing how far we have to go to protect everyone and solve vaccine inequity".

Covax hit the one-billionth mark less than a year after delivering its first vaccine dose late last February -- to Ghana.

All countries have been permitted to order doses through the mechanism, but lower-income countries have received the jabs free of charge.

Berkley said in a statement Saturday that he was "proud that nearly 90 percent of the first billion doses Covax has delivered have been full-funded doses sent to the low and lower-middle countries".

Omicron could 'unravel' progress

But while reaching that one-billion milestone is impressive, Covax has fallen far short of its initial objective of delivering two billion doses by the end of 2021.

That is because it has been forced to compete with rich countries willing to pay a high price and hoarding doses.

In a speech on Thursday, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus pointed out that while more than 9.4 billion vaccine doses had been administered around the world, more than 85 percent of people in Africa have yet to receive a single dose.

Health experts warn that allowing Covid to spread unabated in some places dramatically increases the chance of new, more dangerous variants emerging.

WHO said late last month that nearly half of its 194 member states had missed its target of vaccinating 40 percent of their population by the end of 2021.

It has called for a redoubling of efforts to ensure all countries manage to hit its second target, of vaccinating 70 percent of their populations, by mid-2022.

But experts warn that the current imbalance risks deepening further as many countries now rush to roll out additional doses to respond to the fast-spreading coronavirus variant Omicron.

"We cannot afford to let Omicron and the increased demand for boosters unravel the progress we've made," Berkley tweeted, urging the world to "work together to #breakCovid now".

"If the world unites to ensure adults in lower-income countries are immunised at levels achieved in high-income countries," he said, "between 940,000 and 1.27 million deaths could be prevented in the next year."

COVID-19 VACCINES

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: April 14, 2022 - 9:19am

Pharma giants Sanofi and GSK said on July 29, 2020, that they have agreed to supply Britain with up to 60 million doses of a potential COVID-19 vaccine. The agreement covers a vaccine candidate developed by France's Sanofi in partnership with the UK's GSK and is subject to a "final contract."

This thread collects some of the major developments in the search for a vaccine to ease the new coronavirus pandemic. (Main photo by AFP/Joel Saget)

April 14, 2022 - 9:19am

The head of US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer says a COVID-19 vaccine effective against multiple variants is possible before the end of 2022.

Chairman Albert Bourla says the firm was also working on producing a vaccine that could provide good protection for a whole year, meaning people would come back annually for boosters, as with influenza shots.

"I hope, clearly by autumn... that we could have a vaccine" that worked against not only the dominant Omicron but all known variants, he says. — AFP 

March 25, 2022 - 2:16pm

Australia is offering a fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccines to over 65s from next month, federal health authorities announce, as a new Omicron strain races through the population.

The top advisory group on vaccines approved the fourth shot for vulnerable groups: those aged over 65, indigenous people over 50, people who are immunocompromised and care home residents.

In the past six weeks, other countries, including France, Germany and Sweden as well as  health authorities in England, have recommended a fourth Covid-19 vaccine dose for the most vulnerable, including the elderly. — AFP

March 18, 2022 - 10:13am

Moderna announces it had asked the United States drug regulator for emergency authorization for a second booster shot of the company's COVID-19 vaccine for all adults.

The request to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would "allow for a fourth dose of our #COVID19 vaccine in adults 18 years of age and older who have received an initial booster" of any approved Covid jab, Moderna said on Twitter.

The request comes days after Pfizer-BioNTech, makers of the other Covid mRNA vaccine, also requested emergency approval for a second booster shot, but their request was limited to adults aged 65 and older. — AFP

March 18, 2022 - 10:12am

Moderna announces it had asked the United States drug regulator for emergency authorization for a second booster shot of the company's Covid-19 vaccine for all adults.

The request to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would "allow for a fourth dose of our #COVID19 vaccine in adults 18 years of age and older who have received an initial booster" of any approved Covid jab, Moderna says on Twitter.

The request comes days after Pfizer-BioNTech, makers of the other Covid mRNA vaccine, also requested emergency approval for a second booster shot, but their request was limited to adults aged 65 and older. — AFP

March 17, 2022 - 2:34pm

The United States has given more than 500 million coronavirus vaccines to other countries since the jabs were developed, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday in a statement obtained by AFP.

"The United States has now shared over 500 million safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine doses, free of cost, to more than 110 countries and economies around the world — for the sole purpose of saving lives," Blinken said.

Washington aims to more than double that amount to 1.1 billion doses, as the Covid pandemic persists around the globe. — AFP

Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with