GENEVA — Vaccine distribution alliance Gavi says it plans to set aside up to 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses this year for emergency situations and people in conflict zones.
The Geneva-based public-private partnership says the U.N.-backed program to get the vaccines to people in need around the world, known as COVAX, will allocate 5 percent of the estimated 2 billion doses it expects to receive this year for “high-risk populations in humanitarian settings” and for emergency release in severe outbreaks.
Gavi on Tuesday said its board approved the “COVAX Buffer” initiative for use in places facing “unavoidable gaps in coverage” in places like state failure and conflict.
Former European Union Commission president Jose Manuel Barrosso, the new chairman of the Gavi board, said the move will provide a “safety net” to ensure that people in such places are not excluded from COVAX’s aim to help all high-risk populations.
Release of such emergency doses will be considered once all COVAX participants — 182 countries, including 92 low-income countries and eight territories — are allocated “a base amount” of doses.