The World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday nine vaccines are being evaluated by its cooperative COVAX facility which now has 172 nations as contributing partners.
The COVAX program was established earlier this year by the WHO and is designed to pool the efforts of member nations to guarantee equitable access globally to any COVID-19 vaccines, as well as other COVID treatments, once they are developed and authorized for use.
Speaking at his usual briefing at the agency’s Geneva headquarters, WHO director- general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the facility is critical to efforts to end the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tedros said making sure all nations have access to any viable vaccine makes the most economic sense. He said it would lead to a prolonged pandemic if only a small number of the richest countries would get most of the supply, saying “Vaccine nationalism only helps the virus.”
The WHO chief urged other nations who are not participating to join COVAX. More resources and more vaccines are needed, he said, to meet the goal of having at least two billion does of safe, effective vaccines by the end of 2021.
Tedros said as nations invest billions into their economic stimulus, to see get their economies back up and running, COVAX offers “a huge return on investment. There is a light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.