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UN-backed COVAX program provides 1 billion doses to poorest countries – The New Indian Express

Through Associated press

BERLIN: The World Health Organization said on Sunday that a UN-backed program shipping coronavirus vaccines to many poor countries has now delivered 1 billion doses, but this milestone “is just one reminder of the work that remains” after hoarding and stockpiling in rich countries.

A shipment of 1.1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Rwanda on Saturday included the billionth dose provided through the COVAX program, the UN health agency said.

The WHO has long criticized the uneven distribution of vaccines and called on manufacturers and other countries to prioritize COVAX. It said that as of Thursday, 36 of its 194 member countries had vaccinated less than 10% of their populations and 88 had vaccinated less than 40%.

The program has delivered to 144 countries so far, “but the work that has been done in this milestone is just a reminder of the work that remains,” the WHO said in a statement.

“COVAX’s ambition has been undermined by hoarding/hoarding in wealthy countries, catastrophic outbreaks leading to border and supply lockdowns,” he added. “And a lack of licensing, technology and know-how sharing by pharmaceutical companies has resulted in manufacturing capacity not being utilized.”

In late December, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged everyone to make a “New Year’s resolution” to support a campaign to vaccinate 70% of countries’ populations by early July.

In a newspaper interview published on Sunday, Germany’s new international development minister said she wanted to use her country’s chairmanship this year of the Group of Seven industrial nations to ensure COVAX gets the resources it needs in 2022.

“Unfortunately, there are still too few countries participating in the financing of the global vaccination campaign,” Svenja Schulze told the Funke press group. “With Sweden, Norway, Canada and the United States, we are the ones who give the most. The other industrialized countries have a significant backlog to catch up.

Germany said it donated 103 million doses to poorer countries last year and plans to donate another 75 million in 2022.

Schulze has signaled that she wants to expand support for developing countries to produce vaccines themselves, with corporate partnerships to produce vaccines under license a favored goal.

When asked if it would make sense to waive patents on COVID-19 patents, which the previous German government opposed, she replied: “I doubt that developing countries will get patents more easily. vaccines if we give up the patents”. The problem is only a small part of the production process, she argued.

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