WHO Says $700 Million Raised So Far For COVAX COVID-19 Vaccines Initiative

A World Health Organization (WHO) official on Thursday said international donors have raised $700 million (537.39 million pounds), less than half the total target, to purchase future coronavirus vaccines for poor countries in a global initiative to ensure vaccines are in the reach of not only rich countries, but all the countries reported Reuters.

The COVAX global vaccine allocation plan has an initial target of $2 billion to buy the vaccines by the end of 2021.

The WHO and the GAVI vaccine alliance led COVAX facility is aimed at helping buy and distribute vaccination shots against the novel coronavirus fairly around the world. It has nine Covid-19 vaccine candidates in its portfolio that employ a range of different technologies and scientific approaches.

“Up to today, what has been mobilised so far is $700 million … So there is a great deal of work to be done to diversify the possible sources of funding,” Matshidiso Moeti, Africa regional director for the WHO, told during a virtual press briefing.

Moeti said some of the African countries including South Africa, Gabon, Namibia, and Equatorial Guinea had agreed to self-finance access to the vaccine.

In related news, the WHO’s Chief Scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan has said that the agency is not overly worried about the pause in the clinical trials for a coronavirus vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca.

She called the pause in Oxford’s clinical trial a wake-up call to the global community to realize there are ups and downs in research.

Swaminathan said early data in human vaccine candidates has been found to be quite promising, as they are triggering an immune response. But she said the vaccine trials must be conducted in tens of thousands of people to determine whether a vaccine can safely protect people from infection.

The WHO official said it could be that some results may be out by end of the year or early next year.

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