Ahead of October 18 — the deadline to join Covax — an initiative to ensure fair distribution of Covid-19 vaccine — the World Health Organization said the race to develop Covid-19 vaccine should not lead to public fear.
A total of 172 nations are now part of this global initiative.
“We cannot risk having an effective vaccine for COVID-19 that people refuse because of the perception that it is unsafe. We already face challenges with vaccine acceptance for many proven vaccines,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
COVAX is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the World Health Organization.
Out of these 172 nations, 92 are low and middle income economies , eligible to be supported by the Covax advance market commitment. The rest 80 are potentially self-financing countries.
The United States is not part of Covax; it has entered into several agreements to procure vaccines.
The safety warning from WHO in the backdrop of the brief pause in Astrazeneca’s trial is significant as the pharma company reported an illness in a participant, triggering fear about Oxford vaccine. However, the trial has resumed after the UK authorities gave a go-ahead.
Serum Institute of India, which is part of Oxford-Astrazeneca Covid-19 vaccine candidate trial, was asked to stop the process after concerns were raised. Now, the drug controller has given a go-ahead to SII to recruit for phase two and phase three trials.