Covax’s major partner will stop offering free vaccines to middle-income countries

Covax’s main partner, the organization that led the effort to bring Covid vaccines to poor and middle-income countries, will stop providing vaccines to a large part of the world’s population next year and will only offer them to a very small number. -Income countries.

The board of governors of Kavi, a nonprofit that provides vaccines to developing countries, voted at a meeting in Geneva on Thursday to end Kovacs support to 37 countries, including Egypt and Indonesia, where hundreds of thousands of people have died from the coronavirus.

Fifty-four countries, including some of the world’s poorest, will continue to receive free Covid-19 screenings and funding to help deliver them by 2025.

The decision reflects global demand for Covid vaccines has collapsed and Kavi has committed itself to procuring vaccines when countries don’t want them. Continued vaccination efforts are expected to focus on high-risk groups, including the elderly and the immunocompromised.

Covax has provided 1.7 billion Covid shots to people in developing countries in challenging situations, but has fallen far short of the goal of ensuring equitable access to vaccines worldwide. The effort was initially hampered by high-income countries, which stifled the initial supply of footage, and later by erratic supply flows and weak distribution systems.

Today, vaccination rates in countries that provide covacx average 52 percent of the population receiving the initial covid vaccine. But sub-Saharan Africa’s figure is just 26 percent. Booster dose distributions have been halted in developing countries, and Covid cases are on the rise around the world.

“It is alarming that this decision has been taken without full consultation with these countries, even as the epidemic is still ongoing,” said Kate Elder, senior vaccine policy adviser for Doctors Without Borders’ access campaign.

But Dr Anthony Mounts, director of the Covid Vaccine Introduction Program at the Task Force for Global Health, a non-profit organization that has supported the distribution of Covid vaccines in 37 developing countries, said the decision was inevitable. He saw a lack of interest in Covid vaccines. The World Health Organization estimates that 90 percent of the world’s population now has either a vaccine for Covid-19 or some immunity from a previous infection.

“I think it was very helpful that there was a coordination mechanism, no matter what challenges Kovacs was facing,” Dr. Mounts said. “But it’s time to change our direction and focus on high-risk groups and what we can do to protect them.”

The 37 countries where support ends will receive a one-time payment, which the board describes as a “catalyst” to set up their own Covid vaccine programs. They will continue to have the ability to purchase vaccines at saffron-negotiated reduced prices.

The other 54 countries received Kavi’s support for routine immunization prior to the pandemic. If those countries choose to continue with Covid campaigns, Gavi will move to integrate Covid scenarios with regular support ending the emergency plan.

“We’ve been committed from Day 1 to helping them achieve their national goals and uplifting the most vulnerable,” said Aurelia Nguyen, Saffron’s chief programming and strategy officer. “At the same time, we need to plan for any worst-case scenario and find ways to gain efficiency for countries by adding Covid-19 shots to routine vaccination programs”.

Another partner of Covax, the World Health Organization, continues to maintain the goal of vaccinating 70 percent of the population in each country. WHO did not respond to a request for comment on the saffron board decision.

Gavi, using funds from rich countries, negotiates purchases with vaccine makers on Covax’s behalf, and sends money to countries to help administer screenings. The agency has received millions of vaccines in donations as high-income countries – as their own vaccine programs falter – seek to reduce their oversupply.

Budget documents presented to the Gavi board show the agency has had to renegotiate its vaccine contracts to avoid having to buy hundreds of millions of doses, and countries have been slow to use the funds they were given to administer the shots.

The Gavi board instructed agency staff to recommend how money currently sitting in the pool should be used to purchase vaccines for donors by early 2023. It also gave broad approval to Kavi’s plan to create a $1.5 billion pandemic preparedness pool.

At the meeting, Kawi governors again tried to catch up with the organization Important drop in routine childhood vaccinations This occurred during the Covid pandemic and led to the resurgence of diseases including polio Measles.

In addition, the Gavi board voted to restart the vaccine campaign against human papillomavirus, or HPV, with a $600 million investment, in an effort to reach 86 million girls by 2025, which aims to prevent cervical cancer.

And, going forward, Kavi will invest in ventures Expand vaccine production in AfricaVaccine nationalism is part of an effort to stem the disparities seen early in the Covid pandemic when the continent was left without access to the shots.

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