berkley9_JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEKAFP via Getty Images_coronavirusvaccinevials Jean-Philippe Ksiazek/AFP via Getty Images

The Fastest Way Out of the Pandemic

During the 2009 swine flu pandemic, a few countries cornered the vaccine market, leaving the vast majority of the global population with no vaccine at all until the outbreak was effectively over. This scenario must be avoided at all costs during the current crisis – and, thanks to the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility, it can be.

GENEVA – Every day, the COVID-19 pandemic costs the world thousands more lives and billions more dollars. The most efficient way to bring this crisis to an end – possibly as early as next year – is with a safe and effective vaccine, manufactured in large quantities and distributed globally. To avoid any unnecessary delays, governments should take this moment, while researchers work to develop the right formula, to prepare the ground for rapid production and broad, equitable deployment.

This is the principle on which the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) Facility is based. Created by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organization, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, this innovative platform aims to distribute at least two billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine by the end of 2021.

That many doses – which will be divided equitably among participating countries, regardless of their ability to pay – would cover some 20% of populations in participating countries. It would thus be sufficient to protect high-risk and vulnerable people and frontline health-care workers worldwide. (Additional doses would also be stockpiled, so that any future outbreak could be tackled before it spun out of control.)

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