No country will be safe from the pandemic until all countries are protected. If we are to defeat the virus, we need coordinated action from all countries. Not only will vaccines help save lives and stabilize health systems, but they can help to drive a global economic recovery. The speed with which variants are spreading and mutating threatens to outpace and undermine the efforts of individual countries to protect their populations. If we do not include the underserved communities of the world, we will see tremendous setbacks in our ability to control the virus.
COVAX, the vaccine pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools ACT-Accelerator, aims to distribute two billion vaccine doses by the end of 2021 and overcome the present imbalance. Considering the difficulties for high-income countries as they organise vaccinations in cities, WHO and partners will work within less equipped countries and regions to ensure a high level of preparedness.
WHO also aims to help countries tackle the many foreseeable challenges of vaccine distribution: misinformation, accountability in health systems, adequately trained health workforce, tracking and data capabilities. Within individual countries, promoting equitable, inclusive and gender-responsive distribution will be a priority, requiring engagement with traditionally underrepresented groups. WHO’s critical and technical leadership will be central to controlling the virus. Through rapid learning, knowledge sharing and adjustment WHO will achieve successful vaccine deployment.