Last year different nations across the world started trying to develop vaccines for the coronavirus disease. With time some countries started announcing their success in the development trials for a vaccine. At first, the only available vaccine doses were for the Sinopharm Chinese vaccine and the AstraZeneca vaccine developed by Britain’s Oxford University and AstraZeneca. But later on, Russia made its vaccine while the U.S and the European Union worked on the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Last year December, the Britons, Americans, and even Canadians approved the newly developed Pfizer vaccine to treat the coronavirus.
Using the vaccines, the different nations that have succeeded in making the medications have already begun to immunize their populations. These same nations have also started to sell the vaccines to less-developed nations and countries that funded research that helped them acquire a vaccine. Because of this, mainly governments in the West have the vaccine, and the countries continue to buy nearly all the vaccines available.
The COVAX Initiative
The World Health Organization foresaw this might happen and thus came up with the COVAX initiative to help developing countries, especially in Africa, get the shots. The World Health Organization started COVAX with the help of the vaccines alliance CEPI and GAVI, a global coalition to fight epidemics. The organizations created the COVAX initiative to prevent an international stampede for vaccines when vaccines would be available. The initiative would ensure that the entire world would have access to COVID-19 vaccines by sharing them fairly amongst all nations.
But so far, the COVAX initiative seems to be failing at its intended job. With vaccine supplies being limited, some rich nations in the West have made it hard for COVAX to secure the COVID-19 shots required for circulation. Currently, the initiative has only secured a fraction of the 2 billion doses it hopes to buy and is yet to acquire any means to ship out vaccines as their pockets dry up.
Many countries signed up to join the pooled procurement for the coronavirus vaccine. Around 200 countries joined the initiative in hopes that the formed sector would assist them in acquiring vaccines. South Africa is amongst the 200 countries that joined the initiative. The nation accounts for more than a third of Africa’s COVID-19 cases. Thus, South Africa continues to work closely with the COVAX initiative, even though some countries have decided to abandon it altogether.
South Africa Expects Vaccines Early January
This week South Africa’s President announced that the COVAX initiative would provide the country with vaccines by the second quarter of 2021. The President, however, did not provide a specific date as to when the shots would be arriving.
In December, the COVAX initiative announced that it would make its very first deliveries in early 2021. Because of this, South Africa expects its shots to arrive at the same time. But experts in South Africa say that the shots under the COVAX initiative can only treat about 10% of South Africa’s population. South Africa has taken notice of such statements and started talking to other manufacturers of the vaccine. The government plans to approach these manufacturers separately to source vaccines for the rest of the population.