United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday (March 7) said the over 12 million COVID vaccine doses were supplied to 19 countries under the COVAX Agreement.
Guterres tweeted “12 million #COVID19 vaccines have arrived in 19 countries thanks to COVAX – the @UN-led initiative to ensure equitable access worldwide. I’m delighted to see this progress in the rollout of vaccines worldwide. #OnlyTogether can we overcome this crisis.”
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) March 6, 2021
The doses have been sent to countries in Africa, South America, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. These vaccines will be administered first to the Healthcare and Frontline Workers.
COVAX is an agreement that was conceptualised in April 2020 by the WHO, the European Commission, and France. The idea was to bring ‘ together governments, global health organisations, manufacturers, scientists, private sector, civil society, and philanthropy, with the aim of providing innovative and equitable access to COVID-19 diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines.’
The need for the COVAX agreement was highlighted further when it was noticed that developed economies had stocked advance order of COVID vaccine well beyond their requirements. Guterres had said in February that a total of 130 countries were yet to receive a single dose of COVD vaccine.
COVAX is based on four approaches which are:
- Connecting companies who are producing vaccines with other companies who have excess capacity to fill and finish.
- Bilateral technology transfer through which the company can transfer its patent to another company to produce vaccines.
- Coordinated technology transfer under which universities and manufacturers will license their vaccines to other companies through a global mechanism coordinated by WHO, which will also involve training of staff at the recipient companies and coordinate investments in infrastructure.
- Giving countries across the world the right to manufacture vaccines by waiving of intellectual property rights as provided by the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement.