BY ROYAL IBEH, Lagos
A target of vaccinating 60 per cent of the population in COVAX AMC-eligible countries by March 2022 is expected to gulp a cumulative $10.3 billion, LEADERSHIP has learnt.
This is expected to be sufficient to achieve worldwide herd immunity under a baseline scenario with limited mutation.
To this end, bridging the 350 million course gap in COVAX AMC-eligible countries will require additional $4 billion grant funding for COVAX AMC. This is in addition to the existing donor commitment of $6.3 billion, thereby, making $10.3 billion funding commitment to this project.
This, according to a new World Bank report, would be sufficient to control the pandemic, stating that, the additional $4 billion would
allow the COVAX AMC to raise its minimum vaccine coverage to about 30 per cent of the population of these countries.
LEADERSHIP reports that there are 92 low- and middle-income economies eligible to get access to COVID-19 vaccines through Gavi COVAX AMC.
The author of the report, Tristan Reed, said: “Most COVAX AMC-eligible countries already have pre-purchased sufficient vaccines to achieve population coverage of 30 per cent or more through existing direct or regional procurement efforts like that of the African Union.
Thus, providing additional donor funding to COVAX AMC may be the most effective way to achieve 60 per cent vaccine coverage and worldwide herd immunity by March 2022.”
To raise the fund, the report suggested that there is need to reduce donors’ upfront commitment by relying on the International Finance
Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm) to issue Vaccine Bonds against a long-term donor commitment or relying on in-kind donations to equalize the distribution of vaccine pre-purchases across countries.
“The gap in LMICs exists despite high-income countries already having pre-purchased vaccine courses exceeding 100 per cent of their
population. High-income countries could close the 350 million course gap in COVAX AMC-eligible countries by donating in-kind their
pre-purchases in excess of their population, which by our estimate are 740 million courses.
“Grant funding for immediate pre-purchases by the COVAX AMC to close the gap would have the added benefit of giving producers the certainty needed to activate reported available production capacity and place orders with input suppliers. In turn, more pre-purchases could help in the discovery and resolution of production bottlenecks, which has been identified as the key challenge facing market participants,” Reed added.
The report however highlighted production bottlenecks, investment in
production capacity, shortages and export restrictions on raw
materials and finished vaccines, scaling up mass rapid vaccination
drives and addressing mutation as challenges that could delay the path
to herd immunity.
But prioritising vaccine pre-purchases of 350 million courses or
possibly more as buffer, it said, will partly help resolve these