According to the World Health Orgnization (WHO), the first delivery of lifesaving jabs arrived in Ghana on February 24.
So far, more than 38 million doses of vaccines from manufacturers AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech and Serum Institute of India (SII) have been delivered globally.
“COVAX has given the world the best way to ensure the fastest, most equitable rollout of safe and effective vaccines to all at-risk people in every country on the planet,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, in a press release on Thursday.
The development comes as WHO and other health regulators reaffirmed the overwhelming value of the AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine, amid ongoing concerns about clotting events among a very small number who’ve had the jab.
WHO listed two versions of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, after careful consideration over four weeks of analysis, for emergency use on February 15, to be rolled out globally through COVAX.
In statements on Wednesday evening, the WHO’s Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) all concluded that the benefits of taking the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh the very rare potential risks.
Despite reduced supply availability in March and April – the result of vaccine manufacturers scaling and optimizing their production processes in the early phase of the rollout, as well as increased demand for COVID-19 vaccines in India – COVAX expects to deliver doses to all participating economies that have requested vaccines in the first half of the year.
According to its latest supply forecast, COVAX expects to deliver at least 2 billion doses of vaccines in 2021.
In order to reach this goal, the COVAX Facility will continue to diversify its portfolio further, and will announce new agreements with vaccine manufacturers in due course.