WHO’s COVAX Vaccine Access Initiative Won’t Succeed Without India’s Help

by Ruturaj Gowaikar and Shambhavi Naik

Despite multiple lockdowns, forms of treatment and therapies, and intermittently aggressive contact-tracing, countries around the world have failed to arrest the spread of the novel coronavirus to the extent they had intended. A vaccine administered to 70-80% of the global population seems now to be the only path to normalcy.

While this is an ideal figure, the whole world – much less any individual country – doesn’t have the capacity to manufacture and distribute these doses in a reasonable time frame. Further, the expertise to develop, test, manufacture and distribute the vaccine is scattered around the world. So in the face of an international pandemic, it is imperative that countries work together to share their expertise and abilities to deliver adequate quantities of a reliable and tested vaccine to everyone.

The COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility (COVAX), an initiative of 172 countries is one platform to exchange expertise and enable equitable access to the vaccine. COVAX plans to pool economic resources of its member countries to achieve two objectives: enable vaccine developers to make high-risk investments for the development of vaccines, and subsidise vaccine costs for middle- and low-income countries. (Read more)