US sign-up for Covax a ‘shot in the arm’ for WHO vaccine scheme

US sign-up for Covax a ‘shot in the arm’ for WHO vaccine scheme

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had a stark warning at the agency’s annual board meeting in Geneva this week: the promise of fair access to Covid-19 vaccines was at serious risk.

In peril, he said, was the WHO-backed Covax facility – a plan nine months in the making to ensure that those at most risk have access to coronavirus vaccines at the same time, no matter where they live.

The programme was being undermined by side deals between wealthier countries and vaccines makers, he said.

Four days later, Tedros celebrated news that he said would bring Covax “one step closer” to its goal: a pledge from the United States to reverse course and join the programme.