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Last Updated : Sep 21, 2020 09:24 PM IST | Source: Reuters

More than 150 nations join WHO-led global plan for COVID-19 vaccines

The list includes 64 wealthier, self-financing countries, and accounts for about two-thirds of the global population, a statement issued by the WHO and GAVI vaccine alliance said, after a deadline of last Friday to make binding commitments.

Reuters

A total of 156 countries have joined the global COVAX scheme intended to ensure fair distribution of supplies of future vaccines against COVID-19, an alliance led by the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.

The list includes 64 wealthier, self-financing countries, and accounts for about two-thirds of the global population, a statement issued by the WHO and GAVI vaccine alliance said, after a deadline of last Friday to make binding commitments.

The goal of COVAX is by the end of 2021 to deliver 2 billion vaccine doses around the world, with healthcare workers prioritised initially and then the most vulnerable 20 percent of people in every participating country, regardless of income level.

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While many lower-income nations are seeking assistance via COVAX, some richer countries had been reticent in confirming their intentions. Some of those who have secured their own future supplies through bilateral deals, including the United States, do not plan to join COVAX.

COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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The plan has highlighted the challenge of distributing vaccines equitably around the world and stirred accusations of selfish behaviour by some wealthier nations.

The vaccine alliance said it expected another 38 wealthy countries to join the initiative in coming days.

It said it had received commitments for $1.4 billion towards vaccine research and development, but a further $700 million-$800 million was urgently needed.

The alliance did not say which countries were only providing funding but not planning to take supply of vaccines from the scheme. France and Germany have said they will only source potential shots via the European joint procurement scheme.

Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.
First Published on Sep 21, 2020 09:17 pm
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