The COVAX initiative, co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) and the World Health Organization (WHO), will supply 237 million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford Covid-19 vaccine to 142 countries by May-end. Over 110 million doses of this to about 60 countries will be met through the AstraZeneca (AZ)-Serum Institute of India partnership. UNICEF is the key delivery partner.
The first round of COVAX's allocations published on March 2 does not include the vaccine doses meant for India. India is one of the worst Covid-19 affected countries among the economies with which Gavi has an advance market commitment (AMC). Its low-income and vulnerable populations remain heavily affected.
The Gavi Board in its meeting in mid-December had received a proposal for a special package for India that provides 20 percent of total AMC doses to cover approximately 7-9 percent of India's population, and 20 percent of the overall amount of $150 million provided to India for urgent technical assistance (TA) and Cold Chain Equipment (CCE).
"Allocating $30 million (20% of AMC TA and CCE envelop) would protect sufficient funding to allow AMC91 (other) countries to cover urgent needs estimated. This allocation would minimise risks and enable India to fill gaps in resources urgently needed to successfully rollout COVID-19 vaccines in early 2021", Homero Hernandez, SCM India, had suggested Gavi Board.
COVAX Initiative said deliveries for the first round of allocations have already begun, with India, Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire receiving doses of the SII/AZ vaccine. India had informed that its target included vaccinating 10 million frontline health workers by February and another 20 million frontline and essential workers by March. Targeting 270 million general population above 50 years of age including persons below 50 years of age with co-morbidities by August 2021 was the third goal for which India has sought COVAX assistance.
COVAX Initiative states that the allocation list will be updated soon to provide indicative timelines for the supply of these doses, split into February-March and April-May. "The timelines are dependent on a variety of factors including national regulatory requirements, availability of supply, and fulfillment of other criteria such as validated national deployment and vaccination plans (NDVPs) from AMC participants, indemnification and liability agreements, and export and import authorizations," it said.