The Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Refuge Place International, Dr. Mosoka P. Fallah, has expressed excitement over latest decision by the Government of the United States of America (USA) to repeal anti-abortion rule on aid and join COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility (Covax) vaccine scheme.
Covax is a global multilateral initiative to develop, manufacture and deploy COVID-19 vaccines on a fair and equitable basis.
The initiative is coordinated by the World Health Organization in collaboration with the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) and the Coalition for Innovations in Epidemic Preparedness (CEPI). It is also a part of a larger mechanism called the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, which was launched in April 2020 in partnership with the European Commission and France as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision to repeal the anti-abortion rule is one of the many reforms that newly inaugurated US President Joe Biden has endeavored to take on.
Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, made the disclosure in a speech to the WHO Thursday morning, January 21, 2021 after being chosen to head the US delegation to the global health group in one of the first acts of Joe Biden’s presidency.
The latest US decision comes of the heels of many global pleas including recent analysis provided by Dr. Fallah.
The former Director General of the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) in a lecture Fallah with the Harvard University and US magazine “The Conversation” Moina Spooner, stressed the urgent need for collective effort in the battle against the Coronavirus disease or covid-19, especially in the administration of vaccine.
He stated that any fight against the global pandemic must be holistic so that low income countries are not left behind.
Dr. Fallah, who is also a part-time lecturer at the Global Health & Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School and lecturer at the School of Public Health of the College of Health Sciences at the state-run University of Liberia (UL), indicated that more than half of the world will be plunged into deeper poverty if wealthy nations attempt to buy these vaccines at current market prices.
“The last I checked, the cost of the current COVID-19 vaccines (which demonstrated the most efficacy) ranged from $19.50 per dose (Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA vaccine) to around $37 per dose (Moderna mRNA vaccine). This is expensive. By comparison, the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is available at US$2.00 per dose. The vaccine is used to protect infants, young children, and adults against disease caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumonia,” he stated.
“COVID-19 has shattered the already weakened economies of low- and middle-income countries through lockdowns and border closures. This, coupled with massive debt repayment that has handicapped many countries, means that if these nations attempt to buy these vaccines at current market prices, more than half of the world will be plunged into deeper poverty,” the Liberian health expert intoned.
“Simply put, developing countries can’t buy the vaccines outright. The reality is that some contributions will need to be made by the developing country. And a framework for this has emerged, known as COVAX,” he explained.
The Harvard and UL lecturer believes that holistic approach is the best option for developing countries to solve their current dilemma.
“Another option would be to give countries like South Africa and India intellectual property rights to manufacture the vaccines, a move which was opposed by a number of countries at the World Trade Organization meeting,” he furthered.
“This method also reduces risk for countries that may have only purchased one or two types of vaccine. The plan is to make available the first two billion doses to all members of the coalition. While the targeted two billion doses aren’t enough, they plan to target vulnerable populations as the first line of defense,” he recommended.
“So far, COVAX has secured contracts of two billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines which will be rolled out when they’re delivered. Most of the pre-orders are from AstraZeneca and the Serum Institute of India,” Dr. Fallah among other things stated.