WHO, partners launch $18 billion effort to distribute COVID-19 vaccines globally

The World Health Organization (WHO), along with the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (Gavi) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), reported Friday they have developed an $18 billion plan to acquire 2 billion doses of eventual coronavirus vaccines for distribution in developing countries.

The World Health Organization (WHO), along with the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (Gavi) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), reported Friday they have developed an $18 billion plan to acquire 2 billion doses of eventual coronavirus vaccines for distribution in developing countries. According to the WHO, the aim is to make sure that coronavirus vaccines are distributed equitably among countries and that wealthier countries do not dominate supplies early on in production, when supplies would be more limited. "The principle of equitable access is a simple thing to say, but a complicated thing to implement—it requires active collaboration between governments, industry, health organizations, civil-society organizations and communities," said WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. The WHO noted that 16 vaccine candidates are in human testing, while another 125 are in development. Gavi and CEPI will lead the WHO-organized vaccine drive, and they will have to raise much of the expected $18 billion total from donors. WHO officials noted that part of the strategy is to pool financial resources and invest in several vaccine development efforts, instead of just backing a single manufacturer.