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COVAX Faces Hurdles

A global initiative to help poorer nations access SARS-CoV-2 vaccines is being hampered by wealthier nations, the Associated Press reports.

The Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility, which is co-led by the World Health Organization, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and Gavi, aims to enable the delivery of about 2 billion vaccine doses around the world by the end of 2021 and ensure the vaccines are equitably distributed. 

But the AP reports that wealthier nations by seeking their own agreements with vaccine producers may disrupt the effort. Even countries like France and Germany that have joined the effortthe US has not — may not procure their vaccines through COVAX. For instance, the European Union has given $469 million in support of COVAX, but has inked its own deals to buy 1 billion vaccine doses, it adds. An Oxfam study further suggests that about half the potential vaccine doses have already been spoken for by countries that represent 13 percent of the global population, the AP adds.

It further notes that the COVAX effort is also facing criticism regarding the transparency of the initiative, how it will keep stored vaccines cold, and how it would handle a vaccine that requires two doses.