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WHO director-general says urgent support is needed for COVAX facility

Immediate funding support totalling $4.3bn is required

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said that $4.3bn is urgently needed to support its COVID-19 vaccine access facility COVAX.

COVAX is the vaccines pillar of the WHO’s ACT Accelerator – a collaborative initiative co-led by the WHO which aims to accelerate development, production and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines.

The COVAX facility is designed to bolster procurement of promising COVID-19 vaccines to ensure the ‘best possible prices, volumes and timing for all countries’.

In opening remarks made at a virtual briefing in Geneva, Ghebreyesus added that 187 countries are now participating in the COVAX facility.

This includes 94 higher-income economies who have officially joined the financing mechanism.

However, he also said that ‘fundamental change’ is needed to support the full potential of the ACT Accelerator, adding that $4.3bn is urgently required to aid mass procurement and delivery of vaccines, tests and treatments for COVID-19.

“This isn’t charity, it’s the fastest and smartest way to end the pandemic and drive the global economic recovery,” said Ghebreyesus.

“The real question is not whether the world can afford to share vaccines and other tools; it’s whether it can afford not to,” he added.

A further $23.8bn will also be required next year to support the ACT Accelerator, Ghebreyesus added in his remarks.

The comments come as multiple vaccine developers announced the first efficacy results for their respective COVID-19 vaccines, including Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca.

In August, Ghebreyesus warned against vaccine nationalism as countries around the world secured early access to the most promising COVID-19 vaccine candidates, including those from the companies listed above.

At that time, the WHO director-general encouraged all countries to work collectively to end the pandemic by sharing finite supplies ‘strategically and globally’.

Ghebreyesus also implored countries to take into account the WHO’s recommendation that consideration should be given to countries in relation to threat and vulnerability, with front-line health and social care workers due to be given priority.

“If we don't protect these highest risk people from the virus everywhere and at the same time, we can't stabilise health systems and rebuild the global economy,” said Ghebreyesus.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

24th November 2020

From: Healthcare

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