Global vaccine program COVAX low on funds, seeks $5.2B

FILE - A medical staff gives syringes with vaccination against the coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease to a doctor inside the Klunkerkranich Restaurant and night club during an ongoing vaccination campaign of the Clubkommission in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022. German news agency dpa has reported that police are investigating thousands of cases of suspected forgery of coronavirus vaccine certificates. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, File) (Markus Schreiber, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

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

The UN-backed program known as COVAX has delivered just over 1 billion doses since shipments started nearly a year ago.

The initial goal was to deliver 2 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% of the people in low-income countries have received at least one dose, while more than 60% of world's overall population has been vaccinated — some with three or four doses.

Seth Berkley, the CEO of GAVI, the global health organization that co-founded the COVAX initiative, said it was key to supplying poor countries with vaccine shots now and in the future but “we right now are basically out of money.”


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