India to send first shipment under COVAX initiative this week
The first shipment from India under COVAX, the global initiative to ensure rapid and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for all countries, is likely to roll out this week, World Health Organization Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan said on Monday. "Today or tomorrow, the first shipment from the Serum Institute will be going out to at least 25 or 30 countries," she added.
Many low-income countries are waiting for the vaccine
"Many countries around the world are waiting for the distribution to happen as they have been watching vaccination programs beginning and scaling in high-income countries, while their own healthcare workers and other vulnerable groups are still waiting," Swaminathan said, during a virtual panel discussion.
Swaminathan appreciated India for rising to the occasion
The virtual panel discussion on Immunizing the World was held during BioAsia-2021, the annual life sciences event of the Telangana government. Observing that amazing research and development is happening in India with several innovative products in clinical trials, Swaminathan hoped that they will be successful. When asked what it takes to overcome the pandemic, she said it would be solidarity, global collaboration, and unity.
COVAX is an initiative for equitable access to vaccines
COVAX is a global initiative aimed at providing fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines to every country across the world. It is led jointly by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and WHO. The program offers doses for at least 20% of countries' populations, a diverse and actively managed portfolio of vaccines, and delivering vaccines as soon as they are made available.