February 27, 2021

The United States joins the COVAX mechanism to distribute COVID-19 vaccines equitably in the world



The United States will join the COVAX platform this Thursday, created by the World Health Organization (WHO) to guarantee an equitable distribution of vaccines against COVID-19 throughout the world, as announced by the US delegation to the Executive Commission of the organism. Until now, that of the US was one of the most notable absences, along with that of Russia, from the international mechanism.

Scientist Anthony Fauci, representative of the new Joe Biden administration before the committee, has assured that the US “will join the international work on the pandemic, and for this reason the president will publish today a directive that contemplates the US incorporation into the COVAX program “.

Fauci made this announcement a few hours after Biden notified the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, and the Director General of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, that the United States canceled plans to leave the international health organization. “The US is a family of nations. We are all glad that the US is staying in the family,” the WHO chief said in a tweet.

This Monday, the WHO director general once again asked governments and pharmaceutical companies for a fairer distribution of coronavirus vaccines worldwide. “The world is on the brink of catastrophic moral failure, and the price of that failure will be paid in lives and jobs in the poorest countries,” he said during the opening speech of the WHO Executive Committee.

As he warned, as the first vaccines begin to be deployed, the promise of equitable access “runs a serious risk.” “More than 39 million doses of vaccines have already been administered in at least 49 higher-income countries. Only 25 doses have been administered in a lower-income country. Not 25 million; not 25,000; only 25.”

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also insisted that “some countries are giving priority to bilateral agreements” for the purchase of vaccines, what he has said is making the prices of the doses more expensive. This “could delay the shipments of the COVAX platform”, coordinated by the WHO to guarantee equitable access to vaccines in impoverished countries with financial help from developed countries, which at the same time finance the research of pharmaceutical companies in the initiative.

During his speech, he called on countries to prioritize the supply of COVAX over new bilateral agreements, and to share their own doses with COVAX, “especially once they have vaccinated their own healthcare workers and older populations, to that other countries can do the same. ”

The WHO director general also recalled that vaccines for the influenza A pandemic that emerged in 2009 did not reach developing countries until after that crisis ended, or that drugs for carriers of the HIV virus reached those affected. in poor nations a decade later than in rich ones, mistakes that should not be repeated.

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