Rabat – COVAX, a global initiative fighting for a fairer distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, has published the list of its first round of vaccine allocations for low and middle-income countries.
The COVAX initiative is co-lead by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the World Health Organization (WHO), ensuring equitable global access to COVID-19 vaccines.
As part of its first round of vaccine allocation, COVAX will deliver, free of charge, 237 million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, manufactured at the Serum Institute of India (SII), to 142 participant countries.
Morocco has been allocated 1,608,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, although the specific timeline is yet to be published. COVAX has presented two time frames for possible delivery, either in February-March or at the latest by April-May.
According to COVAX, the timeline for delivery is dependent on a variety of factors. The initiative listed national regulatory requirements, availability of supply, as well as the import and export of authorisations, as some such variables.
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COVAX noted that the delivery of the first round of vaccines has already begun, with India, Ghana, and Cote d’Ivoire already receiving the first doses of AstraZeneca. Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire began their vaccination campaigns using COVAX-allocated vaccines on Monday, March 1.
The first round of allocations comes at a time when high-income nations are receiving ever-growing scrutiny for what some have called “vaccine nationalism.”
“While Rome is burning, we are fiddling around,” said Mustaqeem De Gama, South Africa’s delegate at the World Trade Organization (WTO) on intellectual property rights.
De Gama is referring to the much-reported –and widely decried — fact that high-income countries are consistently purchasing more vaccines than they need, leaving many poorer nations unable to acquire the bare minimum to inoculate their in-need citizens.
Initiatives such as COVAX are much-needed, as the Economist Intelligence Unit predicted that many low-income countries might not reach mass immunisation until 2024.