The COVAX Facility is on track to deliver at least 2 billion doses of vaccines by the end of the year, including at least 1.3 billion doses to 92 lower income economies, the coalition has said. COVAX is the global initiative to ensure rapid and equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines for all countries, regardless of their income level. The development was confirmed on Friday, January 22, after officials at the facility signed an advance purchase agreement with Pfizer for up to 40 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine candidate, which has already received emergency use listing from the World Health Organization (WHO). COVAX is co-led by Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the WHO. “Rollout will commence with the successful negotiation and execution of supply agreements,” the coalition said through a joint press release issued on Friday. The development is announced after the WHO expressed concern over Covid-19 vaccine nationalism whereby it said developed countries were hoarding the vaccines that have already been produced; a situation that it said would hinder the access to the vaccines for developing countries. Additionally, COVAX announced that, pending WHO emergency use listings, nearly 150 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford candidate are anticipated to be available in the first quarter of 2021, via existing agreements with the Serum Institute of India (SII) and AstraZeneca. Rwanda is part of the 190 countries that are members of this global vaccination effort against Covid-19. The country said it was ready to inoculate its people, and that it hopes to get the first doses of the vaccine against this infectious viral respiratory disease by February this year. Besides those procured through COVAX, Rwanda will also be purchasing its own doses, as announced recently by health minister Dr Daniel Ngamije. The COVAX Facility intends to provide all 190 participating economies with an indicative allocation of doses by the end of this month. This indicative allocation will provide interim guidance to participants – offering a minimum planning scenario to enable preparations for the final allocation of the number of doses each participant will receive in the first rounds of vaccine distribution. “Today marks another milestone for COVAX: pending regulatory approval for the AstraZeneca/Oxford candidate and pending the successful conclusion of the supply agreement for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, we anticipate being able to begin deliveries of life-saving COVID-19 vaccines by the end of February,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which leads COVAX procurement and delivery. “This is not just significant for COVAX, it is a major step forward for equitable access to vaccines, and an essential part of the global effort to beat this pandemic. We will only be safe anywhere if we are safe everywhere,” Berkley observed. Preparations, led by WHO, UNICEF and Gavi, are already well under way for COVAX to deliver vaccines to economies eligible for support via the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC), with Gavi making US$ 150 million available from its core funding as initial, catalytic support for preparedness and delivery. “The urgent and equitable rollout of vaccines is not just a moral imperative, it’s also a health security, strategic and economic imperative,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization. “This agreement with Pfizer will help to enable COVAX to save lives, stabilize health systems and drive the global economic recovery,” Ghebreyesus added. Building on the work of the past months supporting country readiness efforts, a “Country Readiness Portal” will be launched by WHO this month, which will allow AMC participants to submit final national deployment and vaccination plans (NDVPs).