World

WHO proposes two-phased distribution of Covid-19 vaccine

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on August 22, 2020

A logo is pictured at the World Health Organization (WHO) building in Geneva   -  Reuters

The World Health Organization has proposed a two-phased distribution of a potential Covid-19 vaccine, once it is approved as per of its COVAX Facility.

The COVAX facility is a financing scheme which is part of WHO’s COVAX initiative to accelerate manufacturing of Covid-19 vaccine and ensure equitable distribution. It is co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and WHO.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a member state briefing earlier this week had said that the UN health agency plans to propose allocating vaccines in two phases.

“In phase 1, doses will be allocated proportionally to all participating countries simultaneously to reduce overall risk. In phase 2, consideration will be given to countries’ in relation to threat and vulnerability,” he said.

“Front line workers in health and social care settings will be prioritized, as well as adults over 65 years old and those others who are most vulnerable,” he added.

The health agency aims to cover about 20 per cent of the population in phase 1 which would include most of the at-risk groups.

“If we do not protect these highest risk people from the virus everywhere and at the same time, we cannot stabilize health systems and rebuild the global economy,” the WHO chief said.

“The fastest way to end the pandemic and reopen economies is to start by protecting the highest risk populations everywhere, rather than the entire populations of just some countries,” he said.

According to WHO’s chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan, Covax will need $18 billion for 2 billion doses of a vaccine by the end of 2021, as per previous reports.

WHO in July had said that 75 countries have shown interest in joining its COVAX facility meant to provide global access to a Covid-19 vaccine. The countries would finance the vaccines from their own public finance budgets while partnering up to support 90 lower-income countries through voluntary donations, it said. It renewed its invitation for countries to join the facility earlier this month.

Published on August 22, 2020

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