COVAX facility overwhelmed

The donor-funded COVAX facility, which is distributing Covid-19 vaccines across the globe, is reportedly overwhelmed.

COVAX has to date delivered almost 29 million doses of vaccine to 38 countries with the World Health Organisation (WHO) having since said that the greatest threat that most countries face now is lack of access to vaccines.

“Almost every day, I receive calls from senior political leaders around the world, asking when their country will receive their vaccines through COVAX,” said WHO director-general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, while briefing the media on Covid-19 Monday.

“Some of them are frustrated, and I understand why. They see some of the world’s richest countries buying enough vaccines to immunize their populations several times over, while their own countries have nothing.”

Some countries that have received their COVAX allocations include Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo and others.

“We welcome the commitment by the Quad countries to deliver up to 1 billion doses of vaccine in the Asia-Pacific region through COVAX,” said Ghebreyesus.

“And we continue to call for all countries to work in solidarity to ensure that vaccination begins in all countries within the first 100 days of this year. We have 26 days left. No country can simply vaccinate its way out of this pandemic alone. We are all in this together.”

Meanwhile, WHO said it was looking into the suspension of AstraZeneca vaccines by some countries after reports of blood clots in people who had received the vaccine.

“Since our last press conference on Friday, several more countries have suspended the use of AstraZeneca vaccines as a precautionary measure, after reports of blood clots in people who had received the vaccine from two batches produced in Europe,” said Ghebreyesus.

“This does not necessarily mean these events are linked to vaccination, but it’s routine practice to investigate them, and it shows that the surveillance system works and that effective controls are in place. WHO’s Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety has been reviewing the available data, is in close contact with the European Medicines Agency and will meet tomorrow (today).

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