The WHO revealed that over 75 countries have submitted expressions of interest to protect their populations and those of other nations through joining the COVAX Facility, a mechanism designed to guarantee rapid, fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines worldwide.

The 75 countries, which would finance the vaccines from their own public finance budgets, partner with up to 90 lower-income countries that could be supported through voluntary donations to Gavi’s COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC).

Together, this group of up to 165 countries represents more than 60% of the world’s population. Among the group are representatives from every continent and more than half of the world’s G20 economies.

“COVAX is the only truly global solution to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

“For the vast majority of countries, whether they can afford to pay for their own doses or require assistance, it means receiving a guaranteed share of doses and avoiding being pushed to the back of the queue, as we saw during the H1N1 pandemic a decade ago. Even for those countries that can secure their own agreements with vaccine manufacturers, this mechanism represents, through its world-leading portfolio of vaccine candidates, a means of reducing the risks associated with individual candidates failing to show efficacy or gain licensure.”

The goal of COVAX is by the end of 2021 to deliver two billion doses of safe, effective vaccines that have passed regulatory approval and/or WHO prequalification.

These vaccines will be delivered equally to all participating countries, proportional to their populations, initially prioritising healthcare workers then expanding to cover 20% of the population of participating countries.