FILE PHOTO: Picture illustration of vials with Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine labels
Vials with Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine labels Photo: Reuters/Dado Ruvic

COVID-19 vaccine scheme for world's poorest pushes for delivery slowdown

By Jennifer Rigby and Francesco Guarascio

Leaders of the global scheme aiming to get COVID-19 vaccines to the world's poorest are pushing manufacturers including Pfizer and Moderna to cut or slow deliveries of about half a billion shots so doses are not wasted.

COVAX, the World Health Organization-led scheme, wants between 400 and 600 million fewer vaccines doses than initially contracted from six pharmaceutical companies, according to internal documents seen by Reuters.

While at first the initiative struggled for shots as wealthy nations snapped up limited supply, donations from those same countries later in 2021, as well as improved output from manufacturers - alongside delivery challenges and vaccine hesitancy in a number of countries – has led to a glut of vaccine in 2022.

"COVAX has called for manufacturers to acknowledge the global oversupply situation, and support collective efforts to meet the timing of countries' needs and avoid unnecessary wastage," said a spokesperson for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which runs the initiative alongside WHO.

Gavi wants manufacturers to either reduce the size of the initial orders or at least "re-phase" them, meaning they are delivered at a later date that is more aligned with when countries need them.

Future negotiations might also include getting the variant-specific vaccines currently being tested by manufacturers including Moderna and Pfizer.

While Gavi is close to an agreement with some manufacturers, contract negotiations with other companies are not as advanced, according to sources close to the talks. No deals have yet been agreed.

The biggest orders are with Moderna and Pfizer, alongside the Serum Institute of India, Novavax , Johnson & Johnson and Clover Biopharmaceuticals .

"Being cognisant of local needs, we are seeking to provide pragmatic solutions to requests whenever possible," Pfizer said in an emailed statement, while Novavax said the status of its COVAX deliveries was currently "unclear". Moderna said it had nothing to add at this time.

COVAX follows in the steps of other vaccine buyers in trying to cut deliveries agreed at the height of the pandemic, including European Union governments. Pfizer and Moderna have agreed to delay some shipments.

In total, COVAX has delivered more than 1.5 billion doses in the last 18 months.

However, its initial aims of contributing towards the goal of vaccinating 70% of the population of every country in the world by this month have now effectively taken a back seat to protecting 100% of the most vulnerable – namely, health workers and the elderly.

While 66.3% of the world's population has now had at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, the proportion falls to 17.8% in low-income countries, according to Our World In Data.

"What is critical for the global pandemic response now is not a high volume of doses, but tailored supply and support to lower-income countries," said Gavi.

Documents ahead of the organization's board meeting this week, reviewed by Reuters, also show COVAX is considering extending its work to "leverage dose donations" from high-income countries to provide COVID-19 vaccines for children, as well as adults, in some of the countries the scheme supports.

© Thomson Reuters 2022.

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

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COVAX, the World Health Organization-led scheme, wants between 400 and 600 million fewer vaccines doses than initially contracted from six pharmaceutical companies, according to internal documents seen by Reuters.

More poor management by an organization that mislead the public about the safety of masks at the beginning of the Covid crisis, since it had evidence already from the SARS crisis that masks protected people.

This would be a good opportunity for a global health authority, such as USAID, to take over these programs, and advise what is the best approach to take.

The WHO, which is an agency, not a global health authority, according to its own web page, should keep focusing on things such as trying to come up with news names for viruses--sort of ad campaigns like advertising agencies do.

*Founded in 1948, WHO is the United Nations agency*** **

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

That is entirely on you, there was no evidence of such benefit before it was studied during the pandemic, this is very easy to corroborate because you have been asked to produce this evidence several times and you have never brought it. This time included.

So now you are saying the WHO is correct in advising people not to wear masks to protect against Covid?

The world disagrees with you.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

So now you are saying the WHO is correct in advising people not to wear masks to protect against Covid?

As clearly writeen in the text you quoted what I am saying is that at the time the only evidence available indicated the masks were useful on health care, which is exactly where the WHO recommended for their use to be prioritized. Scientific authorities around the world did the same on their own and this did not change until new evidence appeared that also said masks were useful in the community.

This is what scientific institutions and specially authorities have to do, to recommend only things where the evidence is available. If the evidence leads to new information then this also means the conclusions will also change, as it should be.

In this case there is no mismanagement, if anything there is the opposite, because the whole point is to reduce the amount being asked so there is no waste produced. Poor management would be to ask for everything produced and then see if they could deliver it before the vaccines spoil. This is part of the roles of the WHO as a global health authority.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

virusrex and painkiller, please refrain from your daily bickering on vaccine topics. Please do not post any further comments on this thread.

People are refusing in the billions.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

As the article states explicitly, there is a global over-supply of vaccines. The article does not go into the details of why that is. In countries with poor or non-existent health services, there are almost certainly logistical problems with getting vaccines delivered, stored and into people’s arms. If there is some hesitancy among some people, it may well be because of the never-ending parade of rumour and disinformation fed daily into populations all over the world, or it may be just plain ignorance of the facts. Many communities in many countries don’t have the opportunity to access a wide variety of information or educational sources. The same can’t be said for those in more developed nations who wilfully choose to believe only in antisocial lies and disinformation and further, to spread it at every opportunity.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

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