Partners for the COVAX initiative on Sunday welcomed a commitment by G7 countries to share at least 870 million doses, but the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said more doses are needed with faster delivery.
“COVAX welcomes dose sharing commitments for 870 million additional doses to support equitable access to vaccines in 2021 and 2022, with the aim to deliver at least half by the end of 2021,” the WHO said in a statement.
WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus said, however, “We welcome the generous announcements about donations of vaccines and thank leaders. But we need more, and we need them faster.”
“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.”
COVAX is the vaccines pillar for equitable access to vaccines co-convened by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) and the WHO, working with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
At its meeting in Cornwall, UK which ended Sunday, the G7 announced pledges of 870 million vaccine doses, with a goal of delivering at least half of them by the end of this year.
“We have reached a grim milestone in this pandemic: There are already more dead from COVID-19 in 2021 than in all of last year. Without urgent action, this devastation will continue,” said Henrietta Fore, executive director of UNICEF.
Githinji Gitahi, Group CEO, Amref Health Africa, said: “Africa’s current vaccine supply shortage risks prolonging the pandemic, not just for millions on the continent but for the whole world.”
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