Author: Jeremy Youde, University of Minnesota Duluth
In less than a year since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic, there are already 10 different vaccines approved for use in various countries around the world. But vaccines are only effective if people can get vaccinated — and progress on that front is incredibly uneven. While many states in the Global North will likely achieve widespread vaccination by late 2021, middle and low-income countries may not receive significant vaccine access until 2024.
There are efforts to improve COVID-19 vaccine access throughout Asia, two of which deserve particular attention. The first is COVAX, a joint partnership between the (WHO), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance (GAVI).
Its aim is to develop, purchase and supply COVID-19 vaccines to provide more equitable access, with the goal of vaccinating 1.8 billion people (or 20 per cent of the population in its target low-income states) by the end of 2021. Under this plan, Southeast Asian states should receive 695 million vaccine doses by year’s end, covering roughly half of the region’s population.