Covax vaccine deliveries surged in the last part of 2021, with a record 300 million vaccine doses issued in December

The Covax facility delivered more than 309 million doses of coronavirus vaccines in December, which marked a significant increase in the delivery rate of a global vaccine sharing program that was struggling with lack of supply and logistics issues for most of 2021 .

According to an interim tracking released by UNICEF to the Washington Post on Friday, as of December 30, a total of approximately 910 million doses of vaccine have been provided through UN-supported initiatives.

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This year’s final statistics are far below the more than 2 billion doses of Covax’s original goal, and even lower than the more lofty goals some activists have said. But since about one-third of the dose was delivered in the last month of this year, people cautiously hope that Covax may have avoided some of the problems that plagued it in 2020.

“This is tearing up the eyes,” said Olly Cann, communications director of the vaccine alliance Gavi, a non-profit organization that is one of the three main supporters of the plan, as well as the World Health Organization and the Alliance for Epidemic Prevention. Innovation.

The ambitious vaccine-sharing plan, after a difficult year, marked a bright spot, and the plan was widely criticized for missing deadlines and revised targets. Lawrence Gostin, director of Georgetown University’s O’Neill Institute of National and Global Health Law, said that “the idea that Covax is disappointing and under-performing cannot be avoided”.

But Gostin said that the surge in Covax deliveries reflects the dynamics of global vaccination efforts. “Frankly, we are moving towards a world where supply is not as challenging as simply providing vaccines and putting them in people’s arms,” ​​he said.

Although it is not clear whether the surge in deliveries will continue until 2022, Covax officials stated that the acceleration is due to various positive developments, including increased supply.

Cann said that a key factor is that donors are more informed in advance when doses are available, which enables recipient countries to better prepare to distribute and manage them because many donated doses have a short shelf life. “We don’t want to provide services to countries that cannot accept the dose,” Kann said.

In December, more than 70 countries received doses through Covax, ranging from Bangladesh (received more than 76 million doses) to Barbados (received 14,040 doses).

Other big recipients include Indonesia, the Philippines, and Pakistan, each of which received at least 25 million doses of vaccine in December.

In the last month of this year, more than half of the vaccines delivered globally came from three vaccine manufacturers supported by the United States: Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer BioNTech.

Covax was established at the beginning of the pandemic and officially announced its establishment in April 2020. The initiative aims to build a combination of doses that will be fairly distributed by requiring countries to concentrate resources.

However, the plan will struggle to raise funds in 2020 and lag behind governments in placing dose orders to vaccine manufacturers.

In April, the plan fell further into trouble, when the Indian government began to block the export of vaccine doses produced in the country because of a wave of coronavirus cases related to the delta variant. The move severed Covax from its main supplier, the Serum Institute of India, which was originally expected to provide up to 1 billion doses of vaccines licensed by Oxford University AstraZeneca.

India resumed exports in November, while vaccine doses purchased from Chinese manufacturers Sinopharm and Kexing International began exporting in August.

However, the largest influx of doses occurred after the United States, the European Union, and other wealthy countries began donating doses through Covax in the summer. The vast majority of doses from Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer BioNTech have been donated, leading to concerns that if the donor country feels threatened by omicron or other variants, the dose stream may dry up again.

At a press conference last week, WHO Director-General Tan Desai expressed some optimism about vaccine supply in 2022, but added that boosters widely used in many wealthy countries may further distort global inequality.

Tedros said on December 22: “Our forecasts indicate that by the first quarter of 2022, the supply should be sufficient to vaccinate the entire global adult population and provide boosters for high-risk groups. However, only in 2022 At a later stage, enough boosters will be available for widespread use among all adults.”

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