UNICEF and the Pan American Health Organization have announced a tender for the supply of two billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine in 2021. They will be distributed under the COVAX program, which unites 186 countries.
Manufacturers capable of mass production of the vaccine are invited to submit applications within six weeks by the end of 2021 at the latest. The purpose of the tender is to provide quality vaccines to those in need in 186 COVAX countries, 82 of which are low-income countries, who will receive financial support for vaccine procurement, as soon as possible, based on the principle of fair distribution.
UNICEF recalls that the unprecedented nature and scale of the pandemic requires new approaches to the procurement and distribution of vaccines. COVAX - a program of international cooperation in the production of vaccines - can consolidate the needs of all 186 countries. Thus, manufacturers will have a clear picture of demand and they will be able to apply accordingly. All this will optimize the supply from a range of potential manufacturers and quickly gain access to quality, licensed vaccines at the lowest prices on the global market. A WHO vaccine prequalification team will assess the quality of all drugs that countries procure through the COVAX Alliance.
The UN has repeatedly stressed the need for equitable distribution and vaccines and warned against "vaccine nationalism" when governments make deals in advance with vaccine manufacturers to provide for their own citizens. This desire is understandable, say both UN chief Antonio Guterres and WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, but they constantly emphasize that COVID-19 does not recognize borders, and as long as there is at least one person in the world who can become infected with it, no one can feel secure.
“Nationalism in the development of a vaccine will only allow the disease to gain a foothold in society and delay the process of general recovery. Working together through the COVAX Foundation is not charity, it is in the interest of all countries - it will help control the pandemic and accelerate the global economic recovery, ”stresses Dr. Tedros. WHO believes that, first of all, the vaccine should become available to the most vulnerable - both countries and population groups. First of all, these are medical workers, the elderly and people with chronic diseases.
Recall that this week, Pfizer and BioNTech announced that according to the results of the third, decisive phase of clinical trials, the effectiveness of the vaccine they have developed is more than 90 percent. The head of WHO, Dr Tedros, called the news "encouraging." However, the difficulty lies in the fact that the unique technology that was used to create this vaccine requires storage at very low temperatures. So far, the Pan American Health Organization warns, no country has such opportunities - after all, we are talking about thousands and millions of doses.