The international mechanism Covax, intended to promote access to vaccines against Covid-19 in poor countries, reached a milestone on Saturday with "
a first billion
" of doses distributed, rejoiced one of the supporters.
This is a key step in the largest and fastest vaccine delivery in history
,” said Seth Berkley, Executive Director of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
This alliance created Covax in 2020 with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Cepi coalition.
Read alsoCovid-19: why rich countries are taking so long to give doses of vaccines to the poorest
Mr. Berkley made the announcement as a plane landed in Kigali, Rwanda with the billionth dose distributed by Covax.
The first dose had been in February in Ghana.
All countries can order doses through this mechanism, but low-income countries receive them for free.
I am proud but humbled at the same time, knowing what needs to be done to protect everyone and solve the inequity in vaccination coverage
,” Berkley added.
Our work is far from over
Competition from rich countries
Nearly 90% of the doses distributed were financed by donations to Gavi, the total amount of which amounts to more than 10 billion dollars, he also welcomed.
Covax hoped to distribute 2 billion doses by the end of 2021. Competition from rich countries willing to pay dearly and keep doses has prevented this goal from being achieved.
On Thursday, WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus pointed out that while 9.4 billion doses have been injected worldwide, more than 85% of Africans have yet to receive a single one.
Read alsoCovax breaks dose delivery record and asks donors for an effort
However, according to public health experts, the possibility for the virus to circulate unchecked in certain areas increases the risk of the emergence of new, more contagious variants. Half of WHO's 194 member states have already missed the 40% vaccination coverage target by the end of 2021, and the WHO director has called for increased efforts to reach 70% of people vaccinated mid- 2022. The eagerness of rich countries to inject booster doses in response to the circulation of the Omicron variant risks undermining this second objective.
We cannot let Omicron and the growing demand for booster doses demolish the progress we have made
,” Mr. Berkley pleaded on Twitter.
If the world unites to allow adults in low-income countries to be protected to the same level as in high-income countries, between 940,000 and 1.27 million deaths could be spared next year
," he said. he calculated.