The WHO announced on Monday (21) that a sum of countries, equivalent to approximately 66% of the world population, joined its immunization plan against covid-19. The proposal will initially take place in 2 stages and aims to minimize the acute effects of the pandemic by the end of 2021.
The first stage of the immunization process involves the distribution of the vaccine to all countries participating in the plan, which is enough to immunize 3% of their populations – with a focus on health professionals and at risk of exposure to the virus. Then, the vaccine will be distributed to other groups at higher risk, such as people with comorbidities and the elderly, who represent 20% of the population.
In the second stage, it is expected to distribute the vaccine to the rest of the population, based on the criteria of need and urgency established by WHO. The factors considered for all countries are: the speed of reproduction of the new coronavirus and other pathogens (such as dengue and malaria) at the same time and how vulnerable the local health system is, based on data from prepared beds and ICU available. Countries in greatest need should receive immunization first.
Main challenges encountered
One of the main problems found in the WHO plan is the guarantee that countries will remain faithful to the treaty, as well as including more developed nations with higher GDP as donors. Currently, the initiative has the participation of 64 countries with developed economies, 29 of which are European. They will pay for their doses of vaccine and will contribute to the purchase of those from 92 other developing countries – China and the United States are not yet part of the project.
The fund for research and development of the plan, called COVAX, has already raised around US $ 700 million as a contribution to vaccination in developing countries. It is estimated that around US $ 2 billion will be needed by the end of the year, to ensure the completion of the project in aid of the nations in greatest need.