India's Serum Institute on Tuesday, 23 February dispatched its first batch of vaccine shots for the Covax global inoculation programme that focusses on inoculating at least 20 percent of the most vulnerable population in every country, reported AFP.
Covax has formed agreements with the manufacturers for 2 billion doses to be delivered by 2021. SII will supply 1.1 billion doses of the AstraZeneca and Novavax vaccines to the COVAX facility which is led by the World Health Organization and the GAVI alliance. They also have an option of another billion vaccines shots to be supplied to them.
SII’s head Adar Poonawalla on Sunday, 21 February requested other countries to be patient and said that it had been instructed to prioritise its home market over exports.
The company has already supplied the Indian government as well as other poorer nations with millions of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines.
The World Health Organization (WHO) on 15 February, gave its approval for emergency use of the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca which is a major boost for poor countries where millions of doses are set to be distributed.
“The WHO had recently listed two versions of the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, giving the green light for these vaccines to be rolled out globally through Covax.”
The AstraZeneca vaccine is easier to store and transport than some of the other COVID-19 vaccines. Therefore, Covax, an international programme designed to ensure that poor countries get the vaccine, will comprise almost entirely of the AstraZeneca shot.
The COVAX Facility is part of COVAX, a global collaboration of governments, global health organisations, businesses and philanthropic organisations working to accelerate development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
COVAX is co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and WHO and forms the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator. More than 180 countries and economies have signed onto the COVAX Facility to get timely and cost-effective access to vaccines to meet the global scale of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through the COVAX Facility's efforts, vaccines will be distributed in participating countries through the WHO's recently published Allocation Framework, and the WHO's Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) Values Framework which has begun to frame future guidance on vaccine use. These allocation principles aim to ensure that people in all parts of the world will get access to COVID-19 vaccines once they are available.
(With inputs from AFP, IANS)
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