Wealthy First, Fiasco of Equitable Access to COVID-19 Vaccine

The World Health Organisation has postponed deadlines for its program of equitable access to Wuhan virus vaccine, media reported.

The health agency has postponed deadlines for its program of equitable access to coronavirus vaccine, Financial Times reported. The reason was the position of the "rich countries": they were in no rush to join the initiative and preferred deals directly with manufacturers.

The World Health Organization, due to the position of rich countries, had to postpone the implementation of the international COVAX mechanism, the purpose of which is to provide all countries with a vaccine against Wuhan virus on an equal footing, the Financial Times reported with reference to WHO documents.

"Wealthy countries", in particular the US, UK and Japan, were in no hurry to join the program, preferring to conclude bilateral deals for the supply of vaccines with international corporations. Therefore the deadline for their entry into the COVAX mechanism has been postponed from August 31 to September 18. The date of the initial payments by participating countries was rescheduled to October 9.

The global health organisation planned to secure distribution of 2 billion doses of the vaccine to be ready by the end of 2021. The cost of COVAX medicines is financing 92 funding countries. Ultimately, such funding provides vaccine manufacturers with procurement guarantees even before their drugs are licensed, and also allows poor countries to access the drug.

According to the assistant to the head of WHO, Ms Mariangelle Simao, in this situation, there are two options. The first is “vaccination nationalism”, where vaccination is available only to a small number of countries, while “most of the world's people remain unprotected”. The second option is a multi-pronged vaccine approach that protects risk groups in all countries. “The only sensible solution for countries is to join the initiative,” Ms Simao stated.

Several firms are trying to develop the vaccine with the backing of the states including Communist China, the United States and the United Kingdom.

The Australian government has signed an agreement with UK-based drug company AstraZeneca to secure the potential COVID-19 vaccine, being developed by Oxford University.

 

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