• Gavi said 75 countries have submitted expressions of interest to buy their own vaccines and also for 90 lower income countries.
• Plan to deliver by end of 2021 two billion doses of safe, effective vaccines that have passed regulatory approvals.
Kenya is among 90 developing countries to be aided financially to get Covid-19 vaccines next year.
Experts project a vaccine will be available next year, but health workers will get priority.
The access project is led by Gavi, the Geneva-based Vaccine Alliance, which also funds vaccines for routine immunisation in Kenya.
Gavi is a public–private global health partnership that increases access to immunisation in poor countries.
Gavi said 75 countries have volunteered to buy their own vaccines and also support 90 lower income countries.
Whether they can afford to pay or need assistance, it means getting a guaranteed share of doses. They will not be pushed to the back of the queue, as during ng the H1N1 pandemic a decade ago.Gavi CEO Dr Seth Berkley
This will be done though the Covax Facility, a Gavi mechanism to guarantee rapid, fair and equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines worldwide.
Together, this group of as many as 165 countries represents more than 60 per cent of the world’s population.
“Covax is the only truly global solution to the Covid-19 pandemic,” Gavi CEO Dr Seth Berkley said.
“For the vast majority of countries, whether they can afford to pay for their doses or require assistance, it means receiving a guaranteed share of doses. They will not be pushed to the back of the queue, as we saw during the H1N1 pandemic a decade ago," he said.
Covax is co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (Cepi) and the World Health Organization. They work in partnership with developed and developing country vaccine manufacturers.
Covax will invest in manufacturing upfront so vaccines can be deployed at scale as soon as they are proven successful. It will pool procurement and purchasing power to achieve sufficient volumes to end the acute phase of the pandemic by 2021.
“Our aspiration is to be able to vaccinate the most vulnerable 20 per cent of the population of every country that participates, regardless of income level, by the end of 2021,” Cepi Chief Executive Officer Dr Richard Hatchett said.
He said by the end of 2021, they plan to deliver two billion doses of safe, effective vaccines that have passed regulatory approvals.
These vaccines will be delivered equally to all participating countries, proportional to their populations. It will at first prioritise healthcare workers, then expand to cover 20 per cent.
Further doses will then be made available based on country need, vulnerability and the Covid-19 threat.
The Covax Facility will also maintain a buffer of doses for emergency and humanitarian use, including dealing with severe outbreaks before they spiral out of control.
“The Covid-19 pandemic, like every health crisis, also presents us with opportunities,” WHO chief scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan said.
“A vaccine that is affordable and accessible to all will help us address systemic health inequalities. We need all countries to support Covax to achieve this goal and end to the acute phase of the pandemic.”
The initiative has already raised about $600 million (Sh60 billion) against an initial target of $2 billion (Sh200 billion) from high-income donors and the private sector.
(Edited by V. Graham)