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184 Countries Join COVAX Vaccine Initiative

Already 184 states have joined the international COVAX mechanism, which aims to provide all countries with coronavirus vaccines when they become available. This was announced on Monday at a briefing in Geneva by the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adan Ghebreyesus.

“I am pleased to announce today that now 184 countries have joined COVAX,” he said. According to the head of WHO, Ecuador and Uruguay were the last to report participation in this mechanism over the weekend.

He recalled that COVAX has “the largest portfolio of potential vaccines for [coronavirus] COVID-19 disease” and provides the most efficient way to gain access to safe and effective vaccines. Equitable distribution of vaccines is “the fastest way to protect high-risk communities, stabilize health systems and support a truly global economic recovery,” said Ghebreyesus.

“By working together today and sharing globally life-saving materials, including personal protective equipment, oxygen, dexamethasone, and vaccines, when proven to be safe and effective, we can save lives and get through this pandemic,” he said.

The head of WHO announced the international campaign #WeAreFamily (“We are one family”) launched on Monday. Residents of different countries will be invited to record with their family and friends their own video version of the song We Are Family (1979) by the American vocal group Sister Sledge and post this recording on social networks. Gebreyesus thanked singer Kim Sledge for her charity, who will donate to WHO the proceeds from a special edition of this composition.

Distribution of vaccines

The distribution of the first coronavirus vaccines under the international COVAX mechanism will begin no earlier than mid-2021, said Soumya Swaminathan, WHO Chief Scientist.

She recalled that currently, many vaccines are in the last, third stage of clinical trials. “We expect some data by the end of the year, but basic information on them should start coming in early next year,” the expert said. After that, the organization and regulators will begin to study the data, which, according to Swaminathan, should also take some time.

“Once approvals are issued, companies will be able to start producing vaccines for the COVAX mechanism, which will then begin distributing them on an equitable basis to all countries that have joined the initiative,” she said. “The timeline for this is somewhere in mid-2021. when certain populations start getting the vaccine. "

COVAX supports the creation of manufacturing facilities and conducts procurement. Under the terms of the program, high-income countries pay for the purchase of vaccines, thereby subsidizing the so-called funded states in this area. According to the plans under this mechanism, by the end of 2021, 2 billion doses of vaccine should be produced and evenly distributed.

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