As the WHO-led COVAX initiative prepares to supply close to two billion doses of existing and candidate COVID-19 vaccines for use worldwide, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus observed that the end of the pandemic is in sight but people must not let their guard down.
The WHO head welcomed the news as the 190-country international initiative attempts to start delivering the shots in the first quarter of 2021.
The initiative will provide enough doses to each participating country to protect its health and social care workers by mid-2021 while the nations which have chosen to wait should get sufficient doses to cover up to 20 percent of their populations by the end of 2021 with further doses supplied in 2022.
Speaking to the media the WHO Director-General observed that “This is fantastic news and a milestone in global health.”
“This is a time for taking comfort that the end of the pandemic is in sight but taking care that we do not let down our guard. We are all responsible for taking the measures to keep ourselves and each other safe, including during this holiday season. With today’s news the light at the end of the tunnel has grown a little bit brighter, but we are not there yet. And we will only get there together.”
The COVAX Initiative
Co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI), Gavi, and the World Health Organization (WHO), COVAX works in partnership with vaccine manufacturers, UNICEF, the World Bank, civil society organizations and others.
The program has already lined up more than 1 billion doses of vaccines which are under development for 2021.