COVAX and the Global Push for Vaccination Access
The need to address the global COVID-19 pandemic requires both scientific and political innovation. The COVID-19 vaccine has shown that scientific innovation has been met. Using and adapting mRNA technology, the world scientist developed one of the world’s most effective vaccines. The swift rollout of the vaccine in the highly-resourced parts of the globe has resulted in a vaccination rate of 70% in Portugal to 52% in the United States. These numbers look very different for the low-income countries where just 1.32% of their populations have been vaccinated. That is a long way to getting to the needed goal of 70% of the population (per the World Health Organization) in every country by the first half of 2022.
This is where the political innovation has to come into play as the majority of the low-income countries do not have the financial resources of increasing spending by 57% to ensure their populations have access and are immunized against COVID-19. This has led to the creation of COVAX, a global collaboration to ensure the development, delivery, and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations worldwide. This organization, alongside UNICEF, has worked to generate global dose vaccine sharing. Thus far, the United States is the leader in global vaccine donations, with 500 million doses to be donated by the end of 2021. Other countries need to donate and or increase their donations as there is a need for a total of 1.8 billion vaccine doses to be delivered to 92 low-income countries by the beginning of 2022.
Part of the political innovation is where members like you call and write your President and elected officials to ensure we get the vaccines to everyone. The high-income countries such as the United States have the resources and the capacity to end the pandemic everywhere. It is up to us to show the political will to ensure the pandemic is over everywhere.