United Nations: The “terrible” surge of the coronavirus cases in India has severely impacted Covax’s vaccine supply in the second quarter of this year to the extent that there will be a shortfall of 190 million doses by the end of June, according to a joint statement by the WHO, UNICEF, GAVI and CEPI.
The joint statement was issued by Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) CEO Dr Richard Hatchett, Gavi, Vaccine Alliance CEO Dr Seth Berkley, World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore.
“Countries that are advanced in their vaccination programmes are seeing cases of Covid decline, hospitalisations decrease and early signs of some kind of normality resume. However, the global picture is far more concerning,” the statement said.
Giving a call to action to equip Covax to deliver 2 billion doses in 2021, the statement said, “We are seeing the traumatic effects of the terrible surge of Covid in South Asia – a surge which has also severely impacted global vaccine supplies.”
It added that Covax has proven it works as the global mechanism for equitable access to Covid vaccines, having delivered over 70 million doses to 126 countries and economies around the world since February – from remote islands to conflict settings – managing the largest and most complex rollout of vaccines in history. Over 35 countries received their first Covid vaccine doses thanks to Covax.
“However, the terrible surge of the virus in India has had a severe impact on Covax’s supply in the second quarter of this year, to the point where, by the end of June we will face a shortfall of 190 million doses,” the joint statement said.
It said even though Covax will have larger volumes available later in the year through the deals it has already secured with several manufacturers, it warned that “if we do not address the current, urgent shortfall, the consequences could be catastrophic.”
It said the pandemic has just taken a frightening new turn, as a deadly surge of cases rages across South Asia and other hotspots.
The global agencies called on nations to share doses “now”, saying the United States and Europe have collectively pledged to share 180 million doses.