The Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator has launched its strategic plan and budget for the next 12 months, calling for $23.4 billion in international investment to improve global access to COVID-19 vaccines, tests & treatments, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a news release.
The new strategy for the ACT Accelerator, which is a global collaborative, describes actions to address gaps in access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, vaccines, and personal protective equipment in low- and middle-income countries, using the latest epidemiological, supply and market information.
“Inequitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines is prolonging the pandemic everywhere and risking the emergence of new, more dangerous variants that could evade current tools to fight the disease,” the WHO said.
So far, only 0.4% of tests and 0.5% of vaccines administered worldwide have been used in low-income countries, despite these countries comprising 9% of the global population.
With the funding, the partnership will be able to:
- Support the vaccination objectives of 91 lower-income countries in the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) and other countries by delivering sufficient doses and supporting vaccination campaigns to achieve 43% coverage in AMC countries, contributing to the global target of 70% coverage in all countries by mid-2022.
- Assist 144 countries in reaching a minimum testing rate of at least 1 per 1,000 people per day and ensuring sufficient genetic sequencing capacity globally to rapidly detect new variants of concern.
- Ensure 120 million COVID-19 patients in low- and middle-income countries have access to existing and emerging treatments, including medical oxygen.
- Keep 2.7 million health workers in low- and middle-income countries safe with personal protective equipment (PPE).