On World Health Day, let’s come together to build a fairer, healthier world for everyone!
World Health Day, Apr. 7 of each year, is held to draw international attention to a subject of major importance to global health every year. The day was decided in the First Health Assembly convened by the WHO in 1948 and became effective in 1950.
With an aim to increase awareness of a specific health theme to highlight a priority area of concern, the WHO, in collaboration with its related organizations, holds international, regional and local events on the Day. Over the past 50 years, on World Health Day WHO has brought to light important global health issues and provided opportunities to focus worldwide attention, such as on Polio Eradication in 1995, Emerging infectious diseases in 1997, Mental Health in 2001, Antimicrobial resistance in 2011, diabetes in 2016 and Depression in 2017.
The WHO’s theme for 2021
, which is the year the entire world is in the middle of the war against COVID-19, is “Building a fairer, healthier world for everyone.”
(Source: WHO Website World Health Day (https://www.who.int/westernpacific/news/events/world-health-day))
There have been international voices* raised for ensuring global equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccines. The New York Times in December 2020, wealthy countries has secured more than half the doses that could come on the market by the end of 2021, while many poor nations may be able to vaccinate at most 20 percent of their populations in 2021. In the same line, Nature and The Economist Intelligence Unit also addressed that many people in low-income countries might have to wait until 2023 or 2024 for vaccination.
* With First Dibs on Vaccines, Rich Countries Have ‘Cleared the Shelves’
* More than 85 poor countries will not have widespread access to coronavirus vaccines before 2023
* How COVID vaccines are being divvied up around the world
COVAX (COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access)
In the light of WHO's theme for 2021 World Health Day and the issues raised on the equitable access of COVID-19 vaccine, we would like to highlight the major ongoing global efforts towards the fairer and healthier world by providing global equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccines: The COVAX (COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access).
(Source: WHO website (https://www.who.int/initiatives/act-accelerator/covax))
COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (abbreviated as COVAX) is a global initiative co-led by GAVI, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and WHO and collaborated with UNICEF. It is the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT Accelerator or ACT-A). The ACT-A is a global collaboration to accelerate the development, production and equitable access to new COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines, begun in April 2020 by the WHO, the European Commission, and the French government as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vaccine Pillar of the ACT-Accelerator (Source: PAHO (https://www.paho.org/en/documents/factsheet-role-revolving-fund-global-initiatives))
(출처: GAVI 홈페이지 (https://www.gavi.org/covax-facility))
CEPI is focused on the COVAX vaccine research and development portfolio, GAVI is focused on procurement and delivery for COVAX, and WHO has multiple roles within COVAX, such as providing normative guidance on vaccine policy, regulation, safety, R&D, allocation, and country readiness and delivery. UNICEF is leveraging its experience as the largest single vaccine buyer in the world and working with manufacturers and partners on the procurement of COVID-19 vaccine doses, as well as freight, logistics and storage.
COVAX aims to accelerate the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines and to guarantee fair and equitable access for every country in the world. It brings together experts from around the world to collaborate on the research and development of a wide range of COVID-19 vaccine candidates and the manufacturing, procurement, and delivery of the vaccines once approved.
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As of Feb 2021, 191 countries including Rep. of Korea out of the 195 countries in the world, are participating in the COVAX Facility. This includes the 92 low- and middle-income countries and economies that are eligible for donor-funded doses through the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) - an innovative financing mechanism through which the world’s poorest countries will gain access to COVID-19 vaccines. 30 countries including Korea, the US, EU, UK, China are the COVAX-AMC donors.
COVAX aims to secure and equitably allocate 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines and supply of doses equaling up to 20% of participants’ populations (that is for 10 million people in Korea) by the end of 2021. At least 1.3 billion of the 2 billion donor-funded doses secured will be distributed in the poorest economies.
As of Mar 25, COVAX has shipped vaccines to over 50 countries and economies. In Korea, a total of 432,000 doses (216,000 people) of AstraZeneca vaccine were secured according to the first round of allocations as of early April, 2021. Earlier in February, 117,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine (for 58,500 people) were introduced as a part of COVAX’s exceptional distribution.
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Developing Country Vaccine Manufacturers Network (DCVMN)
The DCVMN is a voluntary public health-driven alliance of vaccine manufacturers from developing countries, firmly engaged in research, development, manufacturing and supply of high-quality vaccines that are accessible to protect people against known and emerging infectious diseases globally.
Its objective is to provide a consistent and sustainable supply of quality vaccines at an affordable price to developing countries. Currently, 14 countries, including Rep. of Korea, and their 41 pharmaceutical companies, including Eubiologics, GC Pharma, Korea Vaccine, LG Chem, SK bioscience in Korea, are the member organizations of DCVMN.
DCVMN has a major role to play in the COVID-19 vaccine development and manufacturing and in achieving a faster roll-out of new vaccines at scale. DCVMN was instrumental in scaling up production from zero to millions of doses in a record time span of 10-12 months, at the same time they also licensed in, from large pharma the likes of Astra Zeneca and J&J, and licensed out technology to fellow members within the DCVMN, so as to ensure availability of affordable vaccines to millions of people in low-income countries (LICs) and lower middle-income countries (LMICs).
As of 11 March, DCVMN members had already produced and supplied around 200 million doses globally, accounting for almost 50% of the total volumes of COVID-19 vaccines produced worldwide to cater to needs of various countries. This includes the delivery of 27.7 million doses through COVAX to 13 countries.
DVCMN is collaborating with COVAX, International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Association (IFPMA), and BIO to implement various strategies to increase global vaccine manufacturing capabilities and improve supply chains.