COVID-19: vaccination coverage in poor countries reaches 50%, according to Gavi

COVID-19: vaccination coverage in poor countries reaches 50%, says Gavi

UPGRADE DAY

GENEVA | Half the population of poor countries has now received two doses of the vaccine against COVID-19, the international alliance Gavi announced on Thursday, welcoming the progress made in overcoming inequalities in access to vaccination. 

In the 92 low-income countries that have received donor-funded vaccines, vaccine coverage has averaged 50%, said the Gavi alliance, which co-leads with the World Health Organization (WHO) and d other institutions the international Covax system which aims to ensure equitable availability worldwide of vaccines and treatments against COVID-19.

The Gavi Alliance and WHO have long lamented the lack of solidarity regarding access to COVID-19 vaccination.

While inequalities remain, “low-income countries have achieved remarkable progress”, reaching a “decisive threshold in the coverage” of vaccination against COVID-19, underlined the Gavi alliance in a press release.

Spectacular progress has been made since the beginning of the year 2022, with only 31% of people in these 92 countries having received their first two doses by then.

Previously, vaccination coverage in 34 of these countries was less than 10%, which is the case today in only ten countries, said Gavi.

The alliance has notably made the commending governments for prioritizing vaccination of high-risk healthcare workers, with over 80% of healthcare workers vaccinated in most low-income countries.

Derrick Sim, CEO acting from the Covax office within Gavi, hailed “vital progress”.

But “the pandemic is not over”, he warned. “Cases and deaths continue to rise and new variants pose a threat to us all.”

Since the first COVID-19 vaccines became available, Covax has delivered more than 1, 4 billion doses to low-income countries around the world.

“Vaccine inequality is the greatest moral failure of our time and people and countries are paying the price,” lamented this year the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.