UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) will take charge of the acquisition and distribution of the COVID-19 Vaccine to make sure that every country has safe and equitable access to the initial doses.
UNICEF, World's Largest Vaccine Buyer
The process, which will include more than 170 economies, might become the world's largest and fastest vaccine operation. This will include all governments, manufacturers, and other partners, said UNICED Executive Director Henrietta Fore. UNICEF procures 2 billion doses of various vaccines yearly for routine immunizations. It monitors the outbreak of different countries in partnership with WHO.
UNICEF is collaborating with the Revolving Fund of Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to acquire the vaccines. 92 low- and lower-middle-income countries will be supported by this initiative. UNICEF will also oversee the procurement of 80 higher-income countries.
All countries have shown interest in participating in the COVAX Facility and would contribute monetary support from their budget for the vaccines. The initiative will also see collaboration between WHO, Gavi- The Vaccine Alliance, Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI), PAHO, World Bank, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and other organizations. COVAX facility will be open to all countries.
28 manufacturers have shared their production plans for generating unprecedented quantities of vaccine. They will be working collectively along with UNICEF. Though the manufacturers have shown their concern that the production will also depend upon the clinical trials, if successful. The production is going to be one of the largest in the world. Purchase agreements in advance have been made, along with necessary financial support. UNICEF will help countries ensure that they have signed up for the COVAX Facility before 18th September.
CEO of Gavi, Seth Berkley said that UNICEF has been supporting them for the last 2 decades, and have been one of the reasons for their success. Gavi has provided vaccines to over 760 million children, preventing 13 million deaths. Gavi aims to end the acute stage of the pandemic and help mitigate the effects on individuals, and communities.
COVAX Global Vaccine Facility is the vaccine part of ACT-Accelerator, an initiative that was launched in April to fasten the development of vaccines. It is operated by Gavi, CEPI, and WHO, alongside manufacturers.
Non- Communicable Diseases
The World Health Organisation (WHO) requested all the governments to take bold measures to tackle non-communicable diseases (NCDs). These diseases do not transmit from one person to another. Some examples are Parkinson's diseases, heart attacks, cancer, etc. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom said that only a little success has been achieved in NCDs and it is increasing the vulnerability of people with co-morbidity.
The most common NCDs are cardiovascular diseases like cardiac arrest, High blood pressure, etc, cancer, diabetes, and respiratory diseases. These NCDs are responsible for the death of 40 million people every year. The disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is creating hurdles in the treatment of these diseases. 55% of people with cancer now do not have access to treatment. People having NCDs are highly vulnerable to COVID-19. In Italy, of all the people who died of coronavirus, 67% of the patients suffer from hypertension and 31% have type-2 diabetes. People living in developing countries have 3 times more chances of dying of NCDs.
Vaccine Unlikely to Be Ready This Year
WHO spokesperson Dr. Margeret Harris said that the widespread vaccination will not happen until the middle of 2021. The phase-III trials are still ongoing. She highlighted that until the vaccine is ready, every person should continue maintaining basic hygiene, washing hands thoroughly, and wearing masks.
Author: Subhasri Banerjee
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