Explainer: The World Health Organization’s fight for a global COVID-19 fax plan

(Reuters) – The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday called on countries to join a global pact to ensure less affluent countries have access to COVID-19 vaccines, warning of the risks of so-called “fax nationalism”. Here’s a look at the WHO’s plan and approach to rich nations.

FILE PHOTO: A woman holding a small bottle labeled “Vaccine COVID-19” and a medical syringe in this illustration April 10, 2020. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic


The COVAX Global Fax Facility is a program designed to pool funds from richer countries and nonprofits to develop a COVID-19 vaccine and distribute it evenly around the world. The goal is to deliver 2 billion doses of effective, approved COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2021.

The details of the program are still being spread ahead of an August 31 deadline for peoples to participate. It is led by the WHO, along with the Alliance for Gavi Vaccine, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

COVAX is part of a broader program called the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, which works to ensure that vaccines, treatments, diagnostic tests and other health care resources are widely available to combat the pandemic.


They have focused on securing faxes for their own citizens, and hitting deals for the first doses, even because data the faxes are still effective at proving.

Governments including the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, and the European Union have spent tens of billions of dollars on deals with fax makers such as Pfizer Inc. (PFE.N), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N), AstraZeneca Plc (AZN.L) and others. The United States alone has allocated nearly $ 11 billion for the development, testing, manufacturing and storage of hundreds of millions of doses.

Russia and China are also working on vaccines and have already started vaccinating some of their citizens.

What kind of resources are being transferred?

The ACT Accelerator is funded by a variety of nonprofits and governments. It aims to raise about $ 31 billion.

So far, the COVAX facility has attracted interest from 92 poorer countries hoping for voluntary donations and 80 rich countries, a number slightly changed from a month ago that would fund the scheme, according to the WHO.


The WHO has expressed concern that rich countries that keep vaccines for their own citizens could hinder efforts to end the pandemic.

“We must prevent vaccine nationalism,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a virtual briefing on Tuesday. “Sharing finite deliveries strategically and globally is actually in the national interest of each country.”

WHO leaders have said that developing a coordinated global distribution system for COVID-19 vaccines that would prioritize those most at risk of becoming ill, such as health care workers, would help curb the spread of coronavirus worldwide.

Report by Carl O’Donnell; Edited by Andrea Ricci

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