GENEVA — The U.N.-backed program to get vaccines to the neediest people in the world has again scaled back its target to ship doses this year, projecting about 1.4 billion doses will available through by the end of the year.
Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, says the COVAX program that it runs has faced setbacks. Those include export restrictions from hard-hit India, a key producer of vaccines, as well as regulatory hurdles for some vaccine candidates and manufacturing troubles elsewhere.
Still, Gavi says COVAX deliveries are ramping up significantly and another 1.1 billion doses are expected to become available beyond the 330 million doses it has already delivered. Most of the 1.4 billion doses are destined for the poorest developing countries.
Gavi had originally projected 2 billion doses could be shipped through COVAX this year, then in July lowered that projection to about 1.8 billion. Rich countries and others with vaccine production capabilities like Russia and China have already shipped billions of doses to their people, and the World Health Organization has repeatedly insisted that poor countries and health care workers in some places need better access to help stop new variants from emerging.
A top pharmaceutical industry association on Tuesday projected 12 billion doses will be produced this year. However, WHO officials say many are not being shipped where they are needed most.