Asia Pacific vaccination in Mid or Late 2021, WHO expectation

WHO's coordinator for essential medicines and health technologies, Dr. Socorro Escalante, said While some countries that have independent vaccine purchase agreements might start vaccination campaigns in the coming months, others could see vaccination begin in the middle or late 2021. The countries in the Asia-Pacific region are not guaranteed to have early access to COVID-19 shots and WHO urged them to adopt a long-term approach to the pandemic. 

WHO Regional Director Dr. Takeshi Kasai told reporters in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, "The development of safe and effective vaccines is one thing. Producing them in adequate quantities and reaching everyone who needs them is another". “It's important to emphasise that most, if not all, the countries in the Western Pacific region are a part of the COVAX Facility,” said Escalante. “Within the COVAX Facility we are expecting that the vaccines will be coming in on the second quarter of 2021.” COVAX was set up by WHO, vaccines alliance GAVI and CEPI, a global coalition to fight epidemics, in an effort to ensure equitable access to vaccines across the world. 

“The virus does not rest, and so therefore we need to continue with our responses ensuring that they are implemented consistently,” said WHO Regional Emergency Director Dr. Babatunde Olowokure. He also requested to younger people which represent growing number of new confirmed cases in the region to adhere to social distancing and other measures. The WHO Western Pacific Region is home to almost 1.9 billion people across 37 countries and territories. Across the globe, the virus has infected more than 74 million people and killed more than 1.6 million. More than 41.9 million people have recovered from the disease.

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