SEATTLE, Washington — A race to find a promising vaccine for the coronavirus has created a state of emergency. Developed countries around the world have already obtained more than 500 billion shares of coronavirus vaccines. However, in stark contrast to these statistics, many developing nations are left with merely 800 million shares of the projected vaccine. This highlights the economic disparities and vast limitations in the quality of healthcare for the world’s most vulnerable regions.
Need for Equitable Healthcare
Dr. Krishna Udayakumar of Duke University’s Global Health Innovation Center has found that there will not be enough vaccines to provide for the entire world until 2023 or even as late as 2024. Numbers from October 2020 indicated that there is limited capacity for and availability of forthcoming vaccines. Developed nations will have exhausted these shares in the years to come. This leaves developing nations increasingly vulnerable during the deadliest of times while some developed countries have enough shares to vaccinate their population five times over.
These numbers make the inherent inequalities regarding healthcare for the world’s vulnerable populations apparent. Not only do developing counties lack an adequate amount of remaining vaccines but the probability of some vaccines being ineffective poses an additional threat to developing countries with already insufficient shares. There is also the issue of whether low-income countries have the appropriate storage conditions for vaccines as some may need to be kept in specific conditions, such as freezers, in order for the doses to retain their efficacy.
COVAX and Gavi COVAX AMC
COVAX is an international initiative that promises support for 92 low and middle-income countries across the globe to ensure the safe administration of the approved COVID-19 vaccines. The Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) has raised almost $1.7 billion from the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Italy and Sweden in support of equitable global access to the COVID-19 vaccine. The goal is to have at least $2 billion to reserve one billion doses for AMC eligible economies by the end of 2020, and $5 billion by the year 2021 to obtain doses as they continue to flow in.
The Gavi COVAX AMC is the first step in the overall COVAX Facility. It ascribes incentivized investments as well as procures doses of the vaccine from high and upper-middle-income countries (HICS & UMICs). Gavi’s International Finance Facility for Immunization (IFFIm) plans to garner further funding from vaccine bonds. With the generous pledges from the U.K., Italy, Sweden, Germany and Canada as well as 76 high-income countries joining the COVAX Facility, the IFFIm will be able to fund the Gavi COVAX AMC. The IFFIm also has experience in this area as it has previously helped fund vaccines that the Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) has developed in the past with the help of new pledges and loyal donors from their past.
Continuing the Fight
The Gavi COVAX AMC is a global initiative that is working diligently to restore equitable healthcare for the world’s poor. Recently, the company decided to create the Office of the COVAX Facility. This will help the company better organize and monitor the progress made by the facility. A recent Gavi board meeting decided to allocate $150 million to support the initiative’s AMC-eligible economies to further the ability to deliver and distribute the vaccine.
The Gavi COVAX AMC has persistently worked in partnership with numerous developed and developing countries’ vaccine manufacturers, UNICEF, Civil Society Organizations, the World Bank and other organizations to ensure accessibility of the COVID-19 vaccine.
– Mina Kim
Photo: Wikimedia Commons