Therapy Areas: Vaccines
COVAX to revamp COVID-19 vaccine allocation rules after UK gets more doses than Botswana
27 September 2021 -

COVAX, a programme co-led by the World Health Organisation, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (Gavi) to provide COVID-19 vaccines to the world's countries, is planning to overhaul the allocation methodology to ensure it takes into account the proportion of a country's population that has been vaccinated, including with shots bought directly from pharmaceutical companies, Reuters news agency reported on Monday.

Since January 2021, COVAX has largely allocated doses proportionally among its members according to population size, but regardless of their vaccination coverage.

This had made some rich nations, which already had many COVID-19 vaccines through separate deals with pharmaceutical firms, eligible for COVAX doses alongside countries with no vaccines at all.

In March 2021, UK led the world in vaccination rates and almost half its people had received a shot. COVAX was meant to ensure fair global access to COVID-19 vaccine and allotted the UK over half a million doses from its supplies.

By contrast Botswana, which hadn't even started its vaccination drive, was assigned 20,000 doses from the same batch of millions of Pfizer mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, according to publicly available documents detailing COVAX's allocations.

Other poorer nations, with struggling vaccination drives at best, also received fewer shots than the UK. Rwanda and Togo were each allotted about 100,000 doses, while Libya got nearly 55,000.

This new proposal will be discussed at the Gavi board meeting on Tuesday and the change could be enacted in the fourth quarter of this year, according to an internal Gavi document reviewed by Reuters.