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172 countries are now part of largest COVID-19 vaccine campaign – WHO announces

The World Health Organisation (WHO), has announced that about 172 countries are now part of the “largest and most diverse COVID-19 vaccine portfolio” named COVAX aimed at delivering at least two billion doses of vaccines to participant coubtries by the end of 2021.

“At present, there are nine vaccines that are part of this dynamic portfolio,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus at a virtual news briefing, referring to the COVAX Global Vaccines Facility.

According to the WHO chief, the health body has been coordinating all the countries and they will all receive the vaccine when it is ready.

Tedros added that nine other vaccines were under evaluation for the longer term.

According to him, COVAX is a mechanism for joint procurement and pooling risk across multiple vaccines so that whatever vaccine is proven to be safe and effective, all countries within the facility will be able to access them.

He said that global competition for a viable and working covid-19 vaccine doses could lead to prices spiking exponentially, but with COVAX, that won't happen.

According to Tedros, the COVAX allocation framework aims at ensuring that low, middle and high-income countries all receive the vaccine in a timely way as soon as there is supply of a safe and effective vaccine.

He also added that the vaccine will be provided to those at highest risk, including health workers, people over 65 years and those at higher risk of dying from COVID-19 due to certain diseases they already have.

“A number of vaccines are now in the final stage of clinical trials, and we all hope we will have multiple successful candidates that are both safe and effective,” he said.

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