The World Health Organization (WHO), in collaboration with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the vaccine association GAVI and partners, has led the largest vaccine procurement and delivery operation to date in 144 countries. Out of 194 countries members of WHO, 36 have vaccinated less than 10% of their population, and 88 less than 40%.
According to the WHO, COVAX’s ambition has been undermined by hoarding/hoarding in wealthy countries, catastrophic contamination levels resulting in border and supply lockdowns. And a lack of sharing of licensing, technology know-how by pharmaceutical companies meant manufacturing capacity went unused
On February 24, 2021, Ghana was the first country in the world to receive the vaccine through COVAX when 600,000 doses of the Oxford – AstraZeneca vaccine were delivered to the country’s capital, Accra.
COVAX is currently working with governments, developers and their partners to ensure that when countries receive vaccinations, they can reach people faster.
“The work that has gone into this (1 billion) milestone is only a reminder of the work that remains”, the UN’s health agency underscored.
They added that with updated vaccines in the pipeline, citizens should demand that governments and pharmaceutical companies share health tools globally and “bring an end to the death and destruction cycles of this pandemic, limit new variants and drive a global economic recovery”.
COVAX is one of three pillars of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, which was launched by WHO in April 2020 in response to the pandemic.