In a landmark agreement at G7 summit, held in the United Kingdom (UK), G7 countries committed to share at least 870 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines directly, with the aim to deliver at least half by the end of 2021,
They also reaffirmed their support for COVAX as the primary route for providing vaccines to the poorest countries.
"Many other countries are now facing a surge in cases – and they are facing it without vaccines. We are in the race of our lives, but it’s not a fair race, and most countries have barely left the starting line," said World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a press release on Sunday.
"We welcome the generous announcements about donations of vaccines and thank leaders. But we need more, and we need them faster," he stated.
Facing an urgent supply gap, COVAX is focused on securing as many shared doses as possible immediately, as the third quarter of this year is when the gap between deliveries and countries’ ability to absorb doses will be greatest.
COVAX will work with the G7 and other countries that have stepped up to share doses as rapidly and equitably as possible.
This will help address short-term supply constraints currently impacting the global response to covid-19 and minimize the prospect of future deadly variants.
COVAX is the vaccines pillar of the Access to covid-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator.
It is co-convened by WHO, Gavi the Vaccine Alliance, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) – working in partnership with UNICEF as key implementing partner, developed and developing country vaccine manufacturers, the World Bank, and others.
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.