COVID 19 Vaccines: The World Population Heaves A sigh Of Relief As WHO Pleads With Donor Nations To Fill The Funding Gap To Give All Countries Equal Access To The Vaccines

By Stephen Ubanna

The proceessing and  manufacturing  of COVID 19 vaccines by top Pharmaceutical Companies, like Pfizer, Moderna, Oxford University, Gamaleya, Bhara Biotech and Novax which had engaged in researches since the outbreak of the Asian country of China emerged coronavirus on December 31, 2019 , popular, COVID 19, gives the people, across the global- divide a sigh of relief. 

The other Pharmaceutical Companies which are said to have been involved in such researches included  Johnson and Johnson, Vector Institute, CanSino Biologistics, Sinopharm, Sinovac and Murdoch. The World Health Organisation, WHO, on  its part,   is also Coordinating global effort to develop  a vaccine , with an eye  toward delivering two million doses by the end of 2021. The vaccines, according to an informed source are  still  going  through  a  three-stage  clinical  trial process before  they are sent  to regulatory agencies for approval .Even the North American Country of the United States, US, government ‘s Operation Warp Speed Initiative, OWSI, ,was said to have pledged $10 billion  to develop  and deliver 300 million doses  of the vaccines  by January 2021

.As at December 28, 2020,  the three COVID 19, vaccines   that were said to have been approved by the Regulatory agencies and which had entered into the phase 3  of the clinical  trials  and found to be effective are Astra Zaneka’s COVID 19 Caccine,  Jansen’s COVID 19 vaccine  and NOVAX COVID 19 vaccine.

 It is instructive to note that more than 60  of such vaccines  are still  going  through  the three-stage clinical trials process that is required  before they can be approved  by the Regulatory agencies for use.  Recall that the worst hit countries of the COVID 19,   are  the US, India and Brazil, while European countries    are in the  grip  of the devastating  second wave of the Pandemic infections

. So far,  more than 74 million  people  all over the world were said to have beenminfected by the disease in 191 countries  but  42 million had recovered from  it  even when  the  vaccines for the treatment have not been developed.  

Aware that not many  developing economies may not be able to afford the vaccine because of the high cost implication,  Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General , WHO,  had said that  the United Nations, UN, health agency would need close to $4.3 billion  to procure  the vaccines for the world’s  neediest countries . This may have informed why he had asked the US, United Kingdom, UK, the European Union, EU, China, Japan and other donor nations to fill the funding gap.

Ghebreyesus, the WHO, Director General, had made it clear to those that cares to listen that  ‘’action and money are needed  to ensure  that the COVID 19 vaccines  are available  around the world as the Western nations had  approved them’’. Already, UK, had taken the bold initiative  in vaccinating its citizens with the COVID 19 vaccine that suits their country    for a virus free society.

 There are indications that Canada and the US , may soon  follow suit. An elated Ghebreyesus, had said in Geneva, the WHO , Headquarters, recently   that ’’to have developed a  safe and effective vaccines  for a virus  completely unknown  a year ago and which have reached  the  consumer nations  in record good time is ’an outstanding scientific achievement’’.  It is instructive to note that t the process  to develop such a typical  vaccine to treat a completely unknown virus   takes about 10-15 years in the past.  Before now, according to a WHO  reports, ‘’ the fastest ever vaccine , for mumps, took four years to process and develop in the 1960s’’.

The Value News learnt that even after  it was authorised  and fully licensed , it still faced  potential roadblocks  when it comes  to scaling  up production  and distribution , which also included countries that  should get it first and at what cost. But the situation is different under  the  present circumstance of COVID 19.

The WHO , Director General, had said that ‘’it would be a greater  achievement for the world   to ensure  that all countries, both developing and developed economies, have’’ equal  access to the approved vaccines’’.  He may have gladdened the heart of many when he said  that the  UN  health agency is working  is working with its partners ‘’to ensure  that the developing countries  have the infrastructure  in place to deliver  the vaccines to their people’’.

 He had said that through its ‘’COVAX vaccine Cooperative  and the  189 countries that are  fully participating in it, the Organisation  had already secured  nearly a billion doses  of the three potential  COVID 19, vaccines. He had repeatedly said that  that closing the funding gap by the donor nations  is crucial  ‘’to ensuring that  the entire world  is protected’’. 

While the WHO, may be seeking for financial support from the donor nations to procure the vaccines for the developing countries,  President Muhammadu Buhari, of Nigeria, for the first time has shown that the country  can make do  with its own finances to procure the  drugs  rather seeking for loans from foreign multi-lateral financial institutions  which are currently been owed over N33 trillion.

Dr Sagie Ehnaire: Minister of Health

Ehnaire Osagie, minister of Health, had confirmed that a Committee had been set up by the government ‘’to  select  the vaccines  that would be most suitable  for the country to treat  the Paandemic.  The government may have set up the Committee instead of rushing to place orders for the shipment of the drugs   because’’ different  temperatures  are required  to protect the vaccines’’. The COVID 19 vaccine that may be used in the US, EU, Uk ,China and other parts of the world may not be good for the Nigerian population.

Osagie, the minister of Health, had said that  the Buhari Administration had  reached an ‘’agreement with  the Global  Vaccine  Alliance Initiative,  Gavi, for access  to the COVD 19 vaccines’’.  He disclosed further that the government have  also registered  for the Pandemic vaccines  with the Global  Access  Program, COVAX, which is co-led by the WHO, for supply of the vaccines.  Going by his Statement, the country would receive  20  million  doses of the COVID 19  vaccines soon.

In spite of the fact  that the government  has placed orders for the shipment of the COVID 19 vaccines into the country from Gavi and COVAX,  John Nkengasong, Director of the African Center for Disease Control and Prevention  had said that the vaccination of the Citizens  would not begin in the African Continent until  the second quarter  of 2021, stressing that ‘’ the need for  cold storage  of the vaccines  would be the biggest  Challenge of many countries across the Continent.

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