COVID-19 vaccine update: 156 nations join WHO-led global coronavirus vaccine plan

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday said that a total of 156 economies representing nearly two-thirds of the world's population have joined the COVAX Facility, an international initiative to ensure equitable global access to vaccines against the novel coronavirus.

The list includes 64 wealthier and self-financing countries, which accounts for about two-thirds of the global population, a statement issued by the WHO and GAVI vaccine alliance said reported Reuters.

"This means that 156 economies, representing roughly 64 per cent of the global population in total, are now either committed to or eligible for the COVAX Facility, with more to follow," the WHO said in a statement on Monday.

The COVAX Facility is part of COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to Covid-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, which is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi and the WHO, in partnership with developed and developing country vaccine manufacturers, Unicef, the World Bank, civil society organizations and others.

According to a report by Reuters, WHO said governments, vaccine manufacturers, organizations and individuals have committed $1.4 billion towards vaccine R&D so far, but the initial target in seed funding needed by the end of 2020 amounts to $2 billion. These funds will be used to accelerate the scale-up of vaccine manufacturing to secure 2 billion doses of vaccine, enough to vaccinate 1 billion people assuming the vaccine requires a two-dose regimen.

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