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COVAX program leader hopes to have vaccines to over 100 countries in next few weeks

COVAX program leader hopes to have vaccines to over 100 countries in next few weeks
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The co-head of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (COVAX) said on Sunday that the World Health Organization (WHO)-affiliated program hopes to have COVID-19 vaccines to over 100 countries in the next few weeks. 

When pressed by host Margaret Brennan on CBS’s “Face the Nation” if the WHO will reach its goal of beginning to administer vaccines in all countries by April 7, Seth Berkeley said “we are on our way.”

“We are on our way, we've vaccinated 84 countries, or brought vaccines into 84 countries over the last about six weeks, we hope to get over 100 in the next couple of weeks,” said Berkley, who is also the CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, an organization that works to help vaccinate children in poor countries.

He said the “big challenge” is access to vaccines, and the inequity between developed and developing countries.

“We are only safe if everybody is safe and nothing tells us this like the new variants, because if we have large populations that are not vaccinated, then there is the risk that we will see new variants pop out and they will continue to spread across the world, as we've seen with this virus has been able to do up until now.”

Berkley added that officials have placed orders for more than 2 billion vaccine doses, but most are not scheduled to arrive until the second half of 2021. He also said vaccine nationalism among countries is leaving less vaccines available for impoverished countries.