Covax, the global vaccine programme run by Gavi and the World Health Organization (WHO), has called on countries to urgently act on closing the global vaccine equity gap.
The Covid vaccination initiative has urged all partners to ensure countries have the resources needed to accelerate immunisation, read a press statement by the Unicef, which is a key delivery partner of Covax.
Demand and uptake are low, with low-income countries remaining furthest behind, it added and pointed out that Covax has access to enough Covid-19 vaccines to help protect the WHO global target of 70% of the population in each of the 91 lower-income countries.
These countries are supported by the COVAX Advance Market Commitment – which provides donor-funded doses of a wide variety of COVID-19 vaccines.
Despite the easing of global supply constraints, inequities between lower and higher-income countries are continuing to cost lives and are prolonging the pandemic by increasing the threat posed by the emergence of new, potentially more dangerous variants of the virus.
Only 16% of people in low-income countries have received a single vaccine dose – compared to 80% in high-income countries.
In certain lower-income countries, many of the most at-risk people in society – healthcare workers, the elderly and those with underlying health conditions – are going unprotected while young, healthy adults receive booster doses in wealthier countries.
We can support these countries to meet individual targets and prioritize full coverage of high-risk groups, said the vaccine initiative.