A WHO-led initiative to share COVID-19 vaccines fairly between poorer and richer countries has secured access to nearly two billion doses, the project partners said on Friday.
At least 1.3 billion of these doses will be offered to 92 developing countries, according to the World Health Organisation and several global health funds that back the so-called Covax project.
“With today’s news, the light at the end of the tunnel has grown a little bit brighter,’’ WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, said.
Covax plans the first vaccine deliveries in the first quarter of 2021, with the aim of protecting health workers and social care workers first.
With further doses becoming available in the following months, the Covax project partners aim to target 20 per cent of populations in participating countries by the end of the year.
This share is equivalent to an average size of groups that are at the highest risk for COVID-19.
The project, which has not been joined by the U.S., has reached its immediate funding goal with $2.4 billion raised so far for immunisation in developing countries.
However, an additional $6.8 billion is needed in 2021 to finance research, doses and vaccine deliveries.
To spread the risk, Covax invested in 10 different candidate vaccines.
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