BY Oyeronke Oyebanji —
The first vaccine deliveries by the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) facility to Ghana, Nigeria, and Ivory Coast brought a glimmer of hope to African countries keen to start immunizing their populations against the disease. But while COVAX is ramping up deliveries, its mission to provide rapid, fair, and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines to people everywhere is being threatened by rich countries ordering more than they need. This worrying global imbalance in vaccine distribution could hold back Africa’s recovery and prolong the pandemic worldwide.
COVAX is the world’s best opportunity to avoid this scenario. Never before has the entire global population simultaneously needed a vaccine against the same disease, and COVAX is enabling remarkable collaboration to meet the challenge, bringing together governments, global health organizations, the private sector, scientists, and many other partners to develop, manufacture, and deliver vaccines.