Context: Ghana has become the first country in the world to receive a shipment of coronavirus vaccines under the COVAX Vaccine Program.
- Under the COVAX vaccine program, over 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines are expected to be delivered by the end of 2021.
- AstraZeneca and Serum Institute of India will together work with the COVAX facility to begin supplying the vaccine globally.
- The AstraZeneca vaccine (known as Covishield in India) was given Emergency Use Listing (EUL) by the WHO this month.
What is COVAX?
- The COVAX program is led by the vaccine alliance GAVI, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) in partnership with UNICEF, vaccine manufacturers and the World Bank, among others.
- The aim is to ensure equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines globally in what is being called the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history.
- The program wants to vaccinate roughly 20 per cent of the population in the 92 Advance Market Commitment (AMC) countries, which include middle and lower-income nations that cannot afford to pay for COVID-19 vaccines.
- This means countries with a Gross National Income (GNI) per capita of less than US $4000 and some other countries which are eligible under the World Bank International Development Association (IDA).
- As vaccines receive approval, they will be bought by the COVAX facility, which will then try to provide the doses for an average of 20 per cent of each of the eligible country’s population free of cost.
- The funding is partly coming from high and middle-income countries that will also receive a share of the vaccines produced for COVAX.
- The GAVI Alliance (formerly the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation) is a global health partnership of public and private sector organizations dedicated to “immunisation for all”.
- GAVI model encourages manufacturers to lower vaccine prices for the poorest countries in return for long-term, high-volume and predictable demand from those countries.