WHO’s vaccine scheme must not fail
According to some internal documents, the global scheme to deliver Covid-19 vaccines to poorer countries faces a "very high" risk of failure. A failure such as this may leave nations with billions of people without any access to vaccines until as late as 2024, killing any chances of the world defeating Covid-19 in the next few years.
The World Health Organization's COVAX programme aims to deliver at least 2 billion vaccine doses by the end of 2021 to cover 20 percent of the most vulnerable people in 91 poor and middle-income countries, mostly in Africa, Asia and Latin America. However, according to the documents reviewed by Reuters, the programme is struggling to meet its goal due to a lack of funds, supply risks and complex contractual arrangements. Given the magnitude of the crisis that the world is currently mired in, and which the vaccine programme seeks to overturn, the fact that the WHO's scheme is in danger of failing is an immense travesty. The amount of misery that people, particularly in the poorer countries, would be exposed to, should the vaccine scheme not succeed, is immeasurable.
And it isn't only the poorer countries that will suffer. As we have learned since this crisis began, the only way this pandemic can be defeated is by eradicating the virus from all corners of our planet. Until that happens, all people everywhere will continue to be at risk, and not only health-wise, but in many different ways. That is why all countries and stakeholders must recognise the importance of a full-fledged collective effort to ensure that everyone can access a safe vaccine at the earliest time possible.
The fact that the WHO's programme may not succeed due to financial reasons, therefore, is a concern that should be shared by all. And we hope that by recognising the danger that this gives rise to, all countries and organisations will help with the financial aspects of it. Another way in which different countries and organisations can help is by sharing their vaccine technology and by making it more accessible so that others can quickly produce their own vaccines, should they need to. Having suffered together through the whole pandemic, it would be a great shame if the world does not stick together now to find a solution that can provide a relief from this virus once and for all.