Geneva: The global initiative to share coronavirus vaccines equally between rich and poor countries asked Wednesday for USD 5.2 billion in funds to be able to keep buying doses in the coming months.
The UN-backed programme known as COVAX has delivered just over 1 billion doses since shipments started nearly a year ago.
The initial goal was to deliver 2 billion doses by the end of 2021, but COVAX’s lack of cash when vaccine deals were being made gave it a late start, and most of the world’s vaccine doses have gone to wealthy nations who locked-in contracts.
As things stand now, less than 10 percent of the people in low-income countries have received at least one dose, while more than 60 percent of the world’s overall population has been vaccinated — some with three or four doses.
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Seth Berkley, the CEO of GAVI, the global health organization that co-founded the COVAX initiative, said it was key to supplying poor countries with vaccine shots now and in the future but “we right now are basically out of money.”