Covax needs $5bn to keep delivering Covid-19 vaccines globally

Global initiative for vaccine equity is asking for a funding boost from rich nations

The global initiative to share coronavirus vaccines equally between rich and poor countries asked on Wednesday for $5.2 billion in funds to be able to keep buying doses in coming months.

The UN-backed programme known as Covax has delivered a little more than one billion doses since shipments started about a year ago.

The initial goal was to deliver two billion doses by the end of 2021, but Covax’s lack of cash when vaccine deals were being made gave it a late start, and most of the world’s vaccine doses have gone to wealthy nations who locked in contracts.

As things stand now, less than 10 per cent of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose, while more than 60 per cent of world’s overall population has been vaccinated — some with three or four doses.

Covax wants $3.7bn to fund a pool of 600 million doses to ensure a reliable vaccine supply to the world's poorest countries and cover eventual variables such as boosters or new variant vaccines.

A further $1bn would go towards supporting readiness and delivery in poorer nations and $545 million would cover the cost of supplies and logistics for rolling out donated doses, including syringes, transport and insurance.

The appeal has received $192m so far from donors.

Seth Berkley, chief executive of Gavi, the global health organisation that cofounded the Covax initiative, said despite the importance of supplying poor countries with vaccines, “we right now are basically out of money".

Updated: January 20, 2022, 9:02 AM