By G9ija

About 172 countries are participating in COVAX, a global initiative aimed at working with vaccine manufacturers to produce COVID-19 vaccines, Director General World Health Organisation Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus made this known to reporters on Monday.

According to him, COVAX which is currently the world’s largest and most diverse COVID-19 vaccine portfolio is inclusive of nine candidate vaccines, with nine others under evaluation with other major producers.

“COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) – working in partnership with developed and developing country vaccine manufacturers.

It is the only global initiative that is working with governments and manufacturers to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are available worldwide to both higher-income and lower-income countries”, he said.

“In order to be able to secure enough doses of vaccines to protect the most vulnerable populations, such as health workers and the elderly, the next step for the partnership is to confirm potential self-financing participants’ intent to participate by 31 August and to turn these into binding commitments to join the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility (COVAX Facility) by September 18th, with first upfront payments to follow thereafter, and no later than October 9th.

“The facility is the critical mechanism for joint procurement and pooling risk across multiple vaccines so that whatever vaccine is proven to be safe and effective – all countries within the Facility will be able to access them.