The 'terrible' surge of the second wave of coronavirus pandemic in India has severely impacted COVAX's vaccine supply in the second quarter and would result in a shortfall of 190 million doses by the end of June, a joint statement by the WHO, UNICEF, GAVI and CEPI read.
The statement was issued on Thursday, May 27, by Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) CEO Dr Richard Hatchett, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance CEO Dr Seth Berkley, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore.
Countries that have vaccinated the majority of their population see a decline in COVID cases, hospitalisations and some signs of normality resume. But that is not the reality in South Asian countries.
"We see the traumatic effects of the terrible surge of COVID-19 in South Asia - a surge which has also severely impacted global vaccine supplies," it further stated. So far, more than 35 countries received their first COVID-19 vaccine doses. However,
"However, the terrible surge of the virus in India has had a severe impact on COVAX' 's supply in the second quarter of this year, to the point whereby the end of June, we will face a shortfall of 190 million doses," the joint statement read.
It warned that if the current shortfall is not addressed, the consequences could be catastrophic.
Reportedly, COVAX has proven it works as the global mechanism for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. Since February, it has delivered over 70 million doses to 126 countries and economies worldwide and managed the largest and most complex rollout of vaccines in history.
The global agencies called on developed nations to share doses to meet the current crisis. Although the United States and Europe have collectively pledged to share 180 million doses, there is a need for at least one billion doses by wealthy countries this year.