It was November 2019 when first coronavirus patient made a headline. With the world now celebrating, it’s one year anniversary, the news of vaccine to finally enter the picture instils hope among people, but it is yet to be seen How will WHO ensure the delivery of Covid-19 vaccine to the poor nation?
The year 2020 has been an undulating, distinct and extraordinary experience. It is hard to let go of the episode we all became a part of this year.
From wearing new skills on our sleeves to honing the inherent, the learnings have become an indispensable lump in our life.
With Italy throwing the world into a state of panic to Trump administration’s denial to worsening conditions, from increased awareness of something as basic as sanitation and handwashing to agitation about the prevalent health infrastructure around the world,
we saw an incorporeal virus upending a population of 7.8 billion.
But as the history scripts the mankind of always having successfully slide its way out of an unwelcomed circumstance. No matter how novel it may be, we always find our way to our solution.
When the news of Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine hit the ground, it triggered other ongoing clinical trials to pace up. Many firms and organizations updated of their still-in-process vaccine including Oxford and Moderna with numbers testifying their effectiveness.
But the situation clearly calls for more. There is another aspect that requires equal attention.
The next challenge that lies in the distribution of vaccine or to be more precise and obvious, the equitable delivery of Covid-19 vaccine to the poor nation
The classical riches over rags conspiracy
The idea of suppressing the weak ( financially, hierarchically, or vocally) has been well enrooted from centuries to follow. The poor have always fed over the leftover while the opulent had the best of the feast.
No matter how much we try, but when the world stands one-on-one with adversity, the poor always struggle the most.
Be it the time of monarchy when the kings relished the finest hospitality while the locals died in misery or the era of developed and developing countries,
if the pockets have holes and not money, you’ll always find yourself last in the line.
WHO’s Scheme of vaccine distribution
The COVAX materialization
It is an initiative to ensure the fair and unjustly delivery of Covid-19 vaccine to the poor nation. The current target is to set loose 2 billion vaccine vials by the end of 2021. Also, the list of objectives includes mitigation of chances of hoarding the vaccine by the governments.
As of 19 October, 82 countries have signed the legal pact to become the part initiative. The list included countries like Brazil, Chile, New Zealand, UAE, UK and many others.
The mechanism of COVAX
Under the guidance of WHO, an impartial distribution framework has been developed. The process is will take place in two stages.
In phase one, a proportional allocation of doses to countries shall be the route until all countries reach enough quantities to cover 20% of their population.
In the second phase, the expansion of coverage will be the driving force. For fair disposal of vaccine, a weighted allocation approach shall be a follower. It shall take into consideration the member country’s Covid vulnerability.
Out of the list of member countries, 64 are high-income economies will pool financial and scientific resources. This as stated by WHO ” is to insure themselves against the failure of any individual vaccine candidate and secure successful vaccines in a cost-effective, targeted way”.
How are poor nations to benefit from vaccine distribution?
Along with these 64 high-income economies, WHO has also come with list of 92 low-and middle-income economies. These shall be eligible for support so as to get their hands on vials as well.
The governments of below-par nations can easily get the vaccine through COVAX Advanced Market Commitment (AMC). This is a financial mechanism that will extend aid to poor nations. Official Development Assistance (ODA) has majorly funded this programme.
The AMC fund will be used to pay on behalf of 92 ODA-eligible countries, As soon as WHO licenses the vaccine
WHO has taken additional steps also to ensure that AMC countries are prepared for delivery of Covid-19 vaccine to the poor nation. Gavi is providing up to US$ 150 million as initial funding for the same.
This money will be deployed in planning, developing tools to boost the country’s readiness to lay a smooth supply chain and on technical assistance.
The criteria to decide the 92 eligible countries is the subject WHO has been vocal about yet. Many middle-income economies like South Africa, Lebanon, Gabon among others haven’t been welcomed on the list.
Though the initiative for rest is worth appreciating as far as conceiving a plan is concerned. But a reality check is only possible when the time for action comes. It is fairly easy to formulate and scribble theory on paper than actualizing it.
The leaders of 20 biggest economies pledged to divert all their efforts to equitable delivery of Covid-19 vaccine to the poor nation at G20 summit.
But as our conscience strikes us with past experiences of powerful countries taking a lion’s share in everything to benefit their own people, it is difficult to spot the authenticity in such rhetorics.
The smooth talk of WHO and reasonable impressive words it never fails to publish have always managed to ease the distress among people.
However now maybe even the less resourceful lads are able to read between the lines and know that they are still the last ones in line.
It will be interesting to look out for the road WHO actually choose to walk on.