Although the first vaccines have now been delivered to West Africa, according to correspondent Elles van Gelder, the Covax program faces major challenges. Indeed, the rich countries of the continent have started to buy vaccines themselves, apart from Covax.
“Initially, the idea of the initiative was that rich countries would also buy their vaccines through Covax. By working together on a global scale, you could really create equal access and the whole world would be tough on the pharmaceutical companies as well. Rich countries. joined Covax, but they did not want to rely solely on her and at the same time made their own bilateral contracts. They still help the poorest countries with their donations, but at the same time compete with Covax for vaccines and win this race. “
Yet UNICEF Representative Marc Vincent continues to believe in the immunization program. “The original plan was that the vaccines would be available to both rich and poor countries. The fact that the first shipments have now also been sent to poorer countries shows that the collaboration and therefore the platform is working.” He says he would like more money to be collected for all countries to benefit.
As Western countries have started buying vaccines themselves, it is certainly in their best interests that people in poorer countries get vaccinated. Van Gelder: “Scientists warn that new mutations may arise in these poor countries, which may also spread to Western countries. So they should not only help low-income countries from a moral point of view.”
So there is a lot of talk about helping poor countries. The UK says it will give its remaining vaccines to Covax, but only after vaccinating its own population. Other leaders believe poorer countries should wait too long this way.
Norway has said it will share vaccines with poor countries, not when they are “ready” at home, but alongside the vaccination of the Norwegian population. And French President Macron has proposed that rich countries hold 3-5 percent of vaccines. that they receive must immediately share in order to achieve a fairer distribution, ”says Van Gelder. “It remains to be seen if that will happen.”