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More than 150 countries may join a global alliance to ensure rapid and equitable access to an eventual coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine.
The alliance is 1 of 4 pillars in the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, which was launched in April by the World Health Organization (WHO) and other stakeholders to expedite the pandemic’s end by developing, producing, and distributing COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines. The ACT-Accelerator’s vaccine section, known as the COVAX Pillar, has a goal of delivering 2 billion doses of a safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine to countries in the alliance by the end of 2021.
Currently, 75 wealthier countries that would pay upfront for their own doses have expressed interest in joining. Another 90 lower-income countries could participate through a financing mechanism established by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which leads the COVAX Pillar along with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the WHO.
Although wealthier countries may already have direct agreements with vaccine manufacturers, COVAX will provide “insurance” for them to receive vaccines if those manufacturers’ products fail. At the same time, lower-income countries will be assured of access to vaccines, Gavi CEO Seth Berkley, MD, explained in a statement.
“COVAX offers an innovative solution to the gravest public health crisis in living memory,” Richard Hatchett, MD, chief executive officer of CEPI, said in a statement. “It will speed up the availability of safe and effective vaccines through early investment in manufacturing capacity and maximize the chances of success by backing a broad and diverse portfolio of vaccine candidates.”
Kuehn BM. Interest in Global COVID-19 Vaccine Alliance Grows. JAMA. 2020;324(11):1025. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.16966
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