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25 Jun, 2021 13:02

GAVI alliance approves more funds for delivery of COVAX vaccines as poorer nations desperate for Covid-19 shots

GAVI alliance approves more funds for delivery of COVAX vaccines as poorer nations desperate for Covid-19 shots

The GAVI vaccine alliance has approved a further $775 million to fund the provision of millions of Covid-19 vaccines to poor nations over the next two years as the African continent faces a “fast-surging third wave.”

In a press release on Friday, the GAVI vaccine alliance, which hosts the COVAX initiative, said the total funds available to cover the costs of delivering much-needed Covid-19 shots will rise to $925 million. The rise comes after GAVI bosses approved a further $775 million following a two-day board meeting this week. 

“Protecting the most vulnerable and enabling access to the lifesaving power of vaccines has always been at the heart of Gavi’s mission,” board chair José Manuel Barroso said. 

Barroso added that the global community must step up to deliver vaccines to Africa as the continent is ravaged by a third wave of the virus and currently has the lowest vaccine coverage in the world. 

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To date, the COVAX initiative, run jointly with the World Health Organization (WHO), has delivered 90 million doses to 132 countries since February. However, the initiative has been hampered by supply challenges, include a near total export ban in India, one of the world’s largest vaccine manufacturers.

The organization now estimates it can deliver 1.8 billion doses to lower income economies by the first quarter of 2022.
On Thursday, the World Health Organization said that Africa is facing a “fast-surging third wave” of the virus with peak infections set to surpass the second wave. 

The WHO noted that cases have risen for five weeks in a row and that the 474,000 new cases recorded in the first 48 days of this wave is considerably higher than first 48 days of the second wave.

The new outbreak has engendered more restrictive measures, with nations such as Uganda embarking on a 42-day lockdown. 

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