The World Health Organization said Ivory Coast received 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine Friday, the second nation to receive vaccines through the WHO-administered cooperative COVAX vaccine program.
The delivery of AstraZeneca vaccine to the west African nation’s capital, Abidjan, followed the first COVAX delivery to Ivory Coast’s neighboring country, Ghana, Wednesday.
At the agency’s regular news briefing at its headquarters in Geneva, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Nigeria is expecting 4 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine next week.
Tedros said, “More doses will be shipped to more countries in the coming days and weeks as we move towards our target of starting vaccination in all countries within the first 100 days of the year. We now have 43 days left.”
The WHO chief said the program had made great strides, but that the WHO needed to accelerate the supply and distribution of vaccines. Some countries continue to approach vaccine manufacturers to cut deals on the side, which Tedros said eliminates vaccines otherwise designated for the COVAX facility.
Tedros’ senior adviser, Bruce Aylward, told reporters the situation had improved, and that most countries had listened to the WHO director general’s pleas to not hoard vaccines. But there are still those nations looking to stockpile vaccines that could compromise COVAX supplies.
The COVAX program is designed to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are shared equitably with all nations regardless of economic status and has a goal of delivering 2 billion doses of by the end of 2021.
Tedros stressed again that ending the pandemic requires access to treatments for everyone. He said, “We can’t beat COVID without vaccine equity. Our world will not recover fast enough without vaccine equity, this is clear. So, sharing the vaccine which is being produced is actually the best way to bring lives and livelihoods back to normal.”