About 40 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been distributed through the COVAX mechanism, half of them in Africa, but the supply of vaccines remains stagnant due to "huge demand", especially in India, it reported. today the World Health Organization (WHO).
COVAX, a WHO-led program to ensure equitable access to vaccines for low- and middle-income countries, "has distributed just over 38,7 million doses to date and we expect to exceed 40 million doses this week." Bruce Aylward, senior adviser to the WHO director general on organizational change, told a news conference. "More than 40 countries on the African continent will have received doses of the vaccine by the end of this week, and they will receive about half the doses of COVAX," he added.
But the COVAX mechanism has had significant difficulties in gaining access to vaccines, especially since the Serum Institute of India, "one of the main producers supplying the COVAX mechanism," according to Aylward, cut deliveries of the vaccine from AstraZeneca due to the “huge demand” generated by “the escalation of the outbreak in India”.
One solution suggested by the WHO to ensure adequate immunization is to give the second dose of AstraZeneca after "12 weeks" or even slightly longer, Aylward said.
At the same time, the WHO urged the populations to continue respecting the contagion control measures since vaccines represent only one of the approaches to face COVID-19.
"Last week there was a nine percent increase in infections, the seventh consecutive week that we have seen an increase in infections, and a five percent increase in the number of deaths," said Maria Van Kerkhove, director WHO technique for COVID-19. "Right now we are at a critical point in the pandemic," he said.