COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access, abbreviated as COVAX, is a global initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines led by UNICEF, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (formerly the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, or GAVI), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and others. It is one of the three pillars of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, an initiative begun in April 2020 by the World Health Organization (WHO), the European Commission, and the government of France as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. COVAX aims to coordinate international resources to enable the equitable access of COVID-19 diagnostics, treatments, and COVID-19 vaccines.[1]

By 15 July 2020, 165 countries – representing 60% of the human population – had joined COVAX.[2]


Vaccine candidates

Many of the countries that will benefit from COVAX, have “limited regulatory capacity” and depend on WHO’s authorisations. By early 2021, WHO was reviewing 11 potential COVID-19 vaccines for its Emergency Use Listing (EUL).[3] The first WHO authorised for its EUL on 31 December 2020, was the Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine—an RNA vaccine developed by BioNTech in cooperation with Pfizer, and sold under the brand name Comirnaty.[4][5]

The WHO stated in a press release on 24 August 2020 that COVAX had nine CEPI-supported vaccine candidates and nine candidates undergoing trials, giving it the largest selection of COVID-19 vaccinations in the world.[6] By December, COVAX had finalized negotiations with other manufacturers that gave it access to two billion vaccine doses.[7]

Distribution (recipients)

COVAX provides vaccines to the developing world.[8] A total of 92 low- and middle-income countries are eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX mechanism[9] through the COVAX Vaccines Advance Market Commitment (AMC) financing instrument.[9][10] COVAX AMC is funded by donor contributions.[10] COVAX AMC funds the COVAX Facility, the vaccine procurement platform.[10]

On 3 February 2021, GAVI, the WHO, and UNICEF published the country-by-country distribution of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford–AstraZeneca vaccines forecast for first half of 2021.[11] The early projection includes 1.2 million doses of the Pfizer–BioNTech vaccine in Q1 2021 and 336 million doses of the Oxford–AstraZeneca vaccine in first half 2021 to the 145 COVAX facility participants.[12][13] It is expected that health care workers and the most vulnerable will receive the first doses, which are anticipated to reach approximately 3.3% of the total population of each participating country by the end of the first half of 2021.[13]

In February 2021, the WHO and Chubb Limited announced the roll out of a no-fault compensation scheme for COVID-19 vaccinations for low and middle-income countries which would be financed initially through Gavi COVAX AMC donor funding.[14]

On 24 February 2021, Ghana became the first country in the world to receive vaccines through COVAX when 600,000 doses of the Oxford–AstraZeneca vaccine were delivered to Accra.[8][15]

On 1 March 2021, frontline workers and public officials from the Ivory Coast became the first persons to be inoculated with COVID-19 vaccines shipped from the COVAX Facility. More than 500,000 doses of the Oxford–AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India were shipped to the city of Abidjan the week before. The vaccines were flown in by UNICEF from Mumbai.[16]

On 5 March 2021, Moldova received 14,400 Oxford–AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine units through COVAX, becoming the first European country to do so. The country had already been donated 21,600 doses of the same vaccine by Romania some days earlier.[17]

SK Bioscience
 Congo, Dem. Rep.AMC6,948,0006,948,000
 South AfricaSFP2,976,000117,0003,093,000
 South KoreaSFP2,596,800117,0002,713,800
 Cote d’IvoireAMC2,040,0002,040,000
 North KoreaAMC1,992,0001,992,000
 Saudi ArabiaSFP1,747,2001,747,200
 Sri LankaAMC1,692,0001,692,000
 Burkina FasoAMC1,620,0001,620,000
Non-UN Member StatesN/A1,303,2001,303,200
 Syrian Arab RepublicAMC1,020,0001,020,000
 South SudanAMC864,000864,000
 Papua New GuineaAMC684,000684,000
 Sierra LeoneAMC612,000612,000
 Dominican RepublicSFP542,400542,400
 Kyrgyz RepublicAMC504,000504,000
 Congo, Rep.AMC420,000420,000
 El SalvadorAMC324,00051,480375,480
 Central African RepublicAMC372,000372,000
 West Bank and GazaAMC240,00037,440277,440
 Costa RicaSFP254,400254,400
 New ZealandSFP249,600249,600
 Gambia, TheAMC180,000180,000
 Bosnia and HerzegovinaSFP153,60023,400177,000
 Cabo VerdeAMC108,0005,850113,850
 Solomon IslandsAMC108,000108,000
 North MacedoniaSFP103,200103,200
 Brunei DarussalamSFP100,800100,800
 Trinidad and TobagoSFP100,800100,800
 Sao Tome and PrincipeAMC96,00096,000
 St. LuciaAMC74,40074,400
 Micronesia, Fed. Sts.AMC48,00048,000
 St. Vincent and the GrenadinesAMC45,60045,600
 Antigua and BarbudaSFP40,80040,800
 Marshall IslandsAMC24,00024,000
 St. Kitts and NevisSFP21,60021,600

Participants (donors)

COVAX is principally funded by rich Western countries.[8] As of 19 February 2021, 30 countries have signed commitment agreements to the COVAX Facility as well as the European Union.

Although mainly funded by governments (“Official Development Assistance“), the COVAX scheme is also funded by private-sector and philanthropic contributions, and recipient countries may share some costs for vaccines and delivery.[10]

 United States2,500
 United Kingdom735
European Commission489
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation156
 Saudi Arabia153
Reed Hastings and Patty Quillin30
Anonymous Foundation22
 New Zealand12
 South Korea10
Soccer Aid4
Thistledown Foundation4
Nikkei, Inc.1
Medline International0.02

European Union

As of November 2020, the European Union (EU) and EU members have pledged €870 million to COVAX.[19] The European Commission (EC) brought the EU into COVAX on 31 August 2020 and pledged €400 million in guarantees,[20] but did not state how this money would be paid out or its conditions.[21] The EC pledged a further €100 million from the 11th European Development Fund to COVAX via a grant to GAVI on 12 November. Individual EU member states have also made additional pledges; France donated an additional €100 million, Spain an additional €50 million, and Finland an additional €2 million.[19]

According to the Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany, Germany has joined COVAX through the European Union and has pledged €300 million for the treatment of COVID-19 in developing nations.[22]

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has provided £548 million to COVAX.[23] The United Kingdom was the biggest single donor to COVAX-AMC until being overtaken by Germany and the United States.[24]

United States

As part of its isolationist America First policy,[25] the Trump administration stated on 1 September 2020 that it would not join COVAX because of its association with the WHO,[26][27] from which it had begun a year-long withdrawal process on 6 July 2020.[28]

Joe Biden defeated Trump in the 2020 election; on his first day in office, on January 20, 2021, the Biden administration announced that the United States would remain in the WHO and would join COVAX. This reversal of American policy (announced by Anthony Fauci, Chief Medical Advisor to the President) was welcomed globally.[29][30] On 19 February, the US pledged $4 billion, making it the single largest contributor to the fund.[31]


China has joined COVAX on October 9 2020. [32]On June 4 2020, China has decided to increase its donation to GAVI for 2020-2025 to $20 million compare to $5 million for 2016-2020.[33] China has declared that it will provide 10 million vaccine doses to COVAX on Febuary 3 2021.[34]


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