More than 60 wealthy nations have joined a WHO-backed program to facilitate poor countries’ access to coronavirus vaccine.
The World Health Organization has coordination with the global vaccine alliance group Gavi and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI) created a mechanism aimed at ensuring a more equitable distribution of any future COVID-19 vaccines.
The mechanism, known as Covax, has struggled to raise the funds needed to provide for the 92 low-income countries and other economies that quickly signed up.
In a joint statement said by the 3 organizations, WHO had encouraged richer nations to step up to the plate by the end of last week, and when the deadline fell, 64 were onboard with another 38 expected to join in “coming days.”
However, the U.S and China are not on the list.
“The purpose of the Covax facility is to try to work with every country in the world,” Gavi Chief Seth Berkley told a virtual briefing when asked about China’s absence from the list. “I can assure you that we have had conversations and will continue to have conversations with all countries,” he said.
WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus voiced optimism that so many countries — representing nearly two-thirds of the global population — had agreed to participate in the mechanism.
“COVID-19 is an unprecedented global crisis that demands an unprecedented global response,” he said in the statement, warning countries against scrambling to acquire vaccine stocks for their populations alone.
“Vaccine nationalism will only perpetuate the disease and prolong the global recovery. This is not a charity. It’s in every country’s best interest. We sink or we swim together,” he added.