Covax reduces its forecast of available doses for 2021 by quarter

The United Nations-backed program to immunize the world against the coronavirus has reduced its forecast of doses available in 2021 of ...


The United Nations-backed program to immunize the world against the coronavirus has reduced its forecast of doses available in 2021 of about a quarter on Wednesday, another setback for an effort that was hampered by production problems, export bans and hoarding of vaccines by the rich nations.

Shortly after the forecast was released, the World Health Organization called on wealthy countries not to give boosters to healthy patients until at least the end of the year, in order to allow each country to vaccinate at least 40% of its population. The organization had already called for a moratorium on recalls until the end of September.

“I will not remain silent when the companies and countries that control the global vaccine supply think the world’s poor should be content with leftovers,” Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, chief executive of the WHO.

In its latest showing, the Global Immunization Program, known as Covax, said it expected to have a total of 1.4 billion doses by the end of 2021. In June, the program had said it expected access to 1.9 billion doses. This year. Experts said $ 11 billion was needed to slow the spread of the virus.

Covax blamed the uncertainty surrounding the resumption of vaccine exports from a major manufacturing site in India, as well as problems with increasing production of AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines and a delay in the authorization of the Novavax shot.

“Covax is making strenuous efforts to address and mitigate these risks,” the program said, citing negotiations with the Indian government, whose decision to stop vaccine exports this spring has shaken the program, as well as efforts to convince manufacturers to stop prioritizing individual countries over Covax.

The program struggled last year as rich countries became rivals in a race to buy vaccines, paying bounties to secure their own shots while making slow financial pledges Covax needed to sign deals. More recently, he also struggled with the funding to put doses in people’s arms, even as the Biden administration has promised hundreds of millions of doses. Last week the White House, which is under pressure do more to fight the pandemic, said he would invest $ 2.7 billion to increase domestic production of essential vaccine components as part of President Biden’s campaign to make the United States “the vaccine arsenal for the world.”

Asked about pressure from the WHO to extend a moratorium on booster doses, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, reiterated on Wednesday that the Biden administration was considering the selection of boosters rather than the donation of vaccines as “a false choice”.

“Our view is that we can do both,” Ms. Psaki said, adding that the United States has already given or shared around 140 million doses with more than 90 countries, more than all other countries combined, and were planning to donate hundreds of millions more. .

Dr Tedros said on Wednesday that some vaccine makers and rich countries were using distribution problems as an excuse not to make deliveries. But health officials and those involved with Covax have said those same delivery delays are contributing to distribution problems by preventing poorer countries from planning their vaccination campaigns.

So far, Covax has delivered 245 million doses – most free to the poorest countries, the rest to countries like Canada that have paid for themselves. As of January, the program planned to have at least 785 million doses available by now.

Globally, 81 percent of the injections that were administered have been in high and upper middle income countries, according to Our world in data project at the University of Oxford. Only 0.4 percent of the doses were given in low-income countries. In a meeting this week with rich country health ministers, Dr Tedros said he asked them, among other things, divert their short-term vaccine deliveries to Covax and fulfill their dose donation pledges by the end of September.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Covax reduces its forecast of available doses for 2021 by quarter
Covax reduces its forecast of available doses for 2021 by quarter
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