PAHO to ramp up COVID-19 vaccine procurement
Washington – Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) director Dr Carissa Etienne said on Wednesday the public health agency is in the process of ramping up the procurement of vaccines to treat with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
She said PAHO entered an agreement with Sinovac and was in advanced discussions with other manufacturers to purchase additional COVID-19 vaccines on behalf of countries to complement bilateral deals, donations and doses received via the international COVAX mechanism.
“We have reached an agreement with Sinovac and have begun accepting orders that will be ready for delivery this year, and we are expecting to sign new agreements in the coming days to buy vaccines that have Emergency Use Listing approval from other suppliers for 2021 and 2022,” she said during the weekly PAHO news conference.
Etienne said PAHO helped COVAX so far deliver 50 million doses, including nearly 14 million donated doses.
“We have the capacity to quickly scale this support, so we urge countries not to delay their donations as lives hang in the balance today,” she said.
COVAX is an international mechanism co-led by the World Health Organisation, Global Vaccine Alliance (GAVI), Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to make COVID-19 vaccine distribution more equitable.
Dr Etienne also appealed for the expansion of the manufacturing capacity in the region “to build a more sustainable and dependable supply of vaccines and medical technologies”.
She highlighted advances in a PAHO-led platform to accelerate the development and production of mRNA vaccines.
Last week, PAHO said it had selected two centres in Argentina and Brazil to develop COVID-19 vaccines using the same technology of the Pfizer and Moderna brands.