Ensuring fair and equal access to vaccines by all participating countries is the foundation. All countries, rich or poor, will gradually receive doses by the end of 2021, the Azerbaijan Office of the World Health Organization (WHO) told APA.
According to the Office, it will cover up to 20 percent of the world's population and will allow the majority of risk groups in countries to be vaccinated:
“The process of obtaining vaccines through COVAX involves a number of steps, including approval by the participating countries for regulation, compensation, and commitments, as well as legal agreements with manufacturers on the possibility of supplying vaccines. WHO appreciates highly Azerbaijani government's decision to join COVAX to provide COVID-19 vaccine to its population.”
The WHO has also disclosed the reason why Azerbaijan was not included the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the first exclusive distribution stage: “On January 6 of this year, COVAX said to all participating countries that there is an opportunity to appeal for initial limited supply of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. At this time 72 appeals were received and these appeals were techinaclly evaluated by research commitees (the WHO, UNICEF, the members of Independent Research Commitee of GAVI organization). 51 countries including Azerbaijan were evaulated as “ready” countries to apply the vaccine, however, in the end, 18 of these countries were selected for vaccination provision. Selection criteria for 18 countries include readiness of the participating country, whether to start vaccination (participants who started the COVID-19 vaccination program before January 29 were not included in the first exclusive distribution of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine), price choices of self-financing participants (to determine whether the prices correspond to the prices indicated by the countries in the application forms) the burden of disease and the risk of infection of health care workers.