WHO ROLE IN COVID-19 VACCINE

By Moksha Grover

Covid-19 pandemic has changed the world completely, with affecting almost all the countries around the globe. Today, the whole world is struggling against covid-19. Amidst this fight, it has been declared that with the help of WHO we can win this fight against covid-19. Covid-19 has been declared as a pandemic by world health organization on on March 11, 2020 and since then, WHO has been helping a lot to end this pandemic situation. Safe and effective vaccines, being manufactured everyday are really crucial to end this pandemic. WHO has been working tirelessly in manufacturing and developing these vaccines and also ensuring equitable distribution of theses vaccines.

UPDATING COVID CASES

WHO plays a significant role in determining the covid cases around the globe. For the production as well as the distribution of vaccines, it is important to know how much Covid cases each country has, so that the vaccines can be manufactured and distributed accordingly. This task is being accomplished by World Health Organization (WHO).  WHO updates about covid cases worldwide with the help of statistical tools used for analyzing like graphs and histograms. There is one graph for the overall worldwide covid situation and separate graphs for each country. WHO also helps in providing a better understanding of covid situation by using graphs and histograms in such a way that even a layman can understand it.

This is a recent graph provided by WHO showing 221,134,742 total covid cases and a total of 4,574,089 deaths by covid around the globe as of 7th of September, 2021[1].

WHO also has kept us updated about some vital information about covid like when it became airborne, its second and third wave etc. It also uses apps like twitter and Instagram to update people about the latest information relating to covid. To accomplish all these tasks, WHO has set up a full support team for updating people time to time and also providing assistance to people in this pandemic.

DEVELOPING OF VACCINES

WHO has brought together 400 of the world’s leading researchers to identify research priorities for the manufacturing of vaccines[2]. “Solidarity Trial”, an international clinical trial, involving 90 countries is also one initiative launched by WHO, to help find effective treatment[3]. WHO has also taken up research protocols for better understanding of the virus. Approximately 130 scientists, funders and manufacturers from around the world have signed a statement committing to work with WHO to speed the development of a vaccine against COVID-19[4].

In addition to this, the world health organization is giving its best in making people understand about vaccines, its side effects, its importance etc. by uploading various pdfs and data files on its site.

Above is the cover page of one pdf file uploaded by WHO on their website which tells everything about the working of the vaccines, its benefits, vaccines by different companies etc. In addition to this, WHO has also answered the most asked questions about covid-19 vaccines.

WHO has also given details of various vaccines launched by different companies and have listed their side effects too. It has also helped in the approval of various vaccines given by Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Oxford, Serum Institute of India etc. On its website of Covid-19 vaccine tracker, WHO lays down the list of all the approved vaccines along with the number of countries approving these vaccines and the number of trials in other countries.

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION OF VACCINES

The world health organization (WHO) has a very big role to play in the equitable distribution of vaccines. For equitable distribution of vaccines, WHO has unveiled its global plan to fairly distribute covid-19 vaccine. two-thirds of the world’s population have joined its plan to buy and fairly distribute COVID-19 vaccines around the globe[5]. As per WHO’s “fair allocation mechanism” distribution of vaccines will be conducted in two phases.

In the first phase, all countries would receive vaccine proportional to their population; initially enough vaccine to immunize 3% of their population, with the first doses going to frontline workers in health care and social care[6]. Then, additional vaccine would be delivered until 20% of a nation’s population is covered. WHO envisages that these doses would be used to immunize those at the highest risk from COVID-19: elderly people and those with comorbidities[7].

Second phase would be dealing with the countries where vaccinations are needed to cover additional people on the basis of the urgency of immunizations needed. The priority will be decided on the basis of two criteria’s.

  • The magnitude of spread of virus whether it is spreading very fast and whether other pathogens like influenza are also spreading at the same time
  • Whether the health care system of the country is strong or weak, whether it has sufficient beds in hospitals for its patients and other intensive care units etc.

 RESULTS OF THE PLAN LAUNCHED BY WHO

The plan by World Health Organization (WHO) is still in progress and it is said that additional 38 countries are expected to sign soon[8]. Access to the vaccines in the COVAX portfolio will be given to these countries and they will pay for their own doses. It has secured an estimated 700 million vaccine doses so far and wants to provide 2 billion by the end of 2021, with the aim of providing coverage to at least 20% of the population of participating countries[9]. The WHO has also called for moratorium on Covid Vaccine Booster Shots till end of September to address the drastic inequity in dose distribution between rich and poor nations[10].

WHO ASSISTANCE TO COVID-19 ECONOMY

The world health organization (WHO) in collaboration with other organizations initiated a global collaboration known as the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT Accelerator) with the motive of accelerating the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.

 So far 10 countries have contributed $2.4 billion to the work of the ACT Accelerator, with the United Kingdom committing just over US$ 1 billion, and Germany, Canada, Japan and France committing US$ 618 million, US$ 290 million, US$ 229 million and US$ 147 million respectively[11]. In just seven months, the ACT Accelerator’s progress has been significant: over 50 diagnostic tests have been evaluated and new rapid antigen diagnostics have been developed and being made available for LMICs; life-saving Dexamethasone treatments are being rolled out, research into monoclonal antibody treatments is advancing; and through the Health Systems Connector, the health system requirements for delivery of COVID-19 tools have been mapped in 4 out of 6 world regions[12].

It is now being reported that the countries who have contributed to ACT will now be able assess economic benefits to advanced economies in result of their contributions. Global equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines estimated to generate economic benefits of at least US$ 153 billion in 2020–21, and US$ 466 billion by 2025, in 10 major economies, according to new report by the Eurasia Group[13]. With the help of introducing these policies and initiatives, WHO is now helping the falling economies of many countries to come to the positions they were on before this covid pandemic.

CONCLUSION

In order to sum up, I’ll like to say that WHO is working tirelessly to improve the covid-19 situation across the globe as well as supporting many economies in these hard times. Furthermore, WHO has also given certain guidelines for people to follow that’ll surely help in decreasing covid cases. Guidelines on vaccines are also given. All these guidelines are available on WHO websites. WHO has also conducted free campaigns to spread awareness. These efforts by WHO will only be fruitful when people follow all the instructions and guidelines in relation to covid 19 prevention and also get all the vaccinations properly for immunization. In order to win this fight against covid-19, it is advised to all the people to take necessary precautions and get vaccinated as soon as possible


[1] ‘WHO Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dashboard’, World Health Organization < https://covid19.who.int/> accessed 8th September,2021

[2] ‘5 reasons the world needs WHO, to fight the COVID-19 pandemic’, United Nations (9th April 2020) < https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/04/1061412> accessed 8th September,2021

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Kal Kupferschmidt, ‘WHO unveils global plan to fairly distribute COVID-19 vaccine, but challenges await’, Science (21st September,2020) < https://www.science.org/news/2020/09/who-unveils-global-plan-fairly-distribute-covid-19-vaccine-challenges-await> accessed 8th September,2021

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] ‘World Health Organisation Calls For Moratorium On Covid Vaccine Booster Shots’, NDTV (August 04, 2021) < https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/coronavirus-world-health-organisation-calls-for-moratorium-on-covid-vaccine-booster-shots-2502715> accessed 8th September,2021.

[11] ‘Global equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines estimated to generate economic benefits of at least US$ 153 billion in 2020–21, and US$ 466 billion by 2025, in 10 major economies, according to new report by the Eurasia Group’, World Health Organization (3rd  December 2020) < https://www.who.int/news/item/03-12-2020-global-access-to-covid-19-vaccines-estimated-to-generate-economic-benefits-of-at-least-153-billion-in-2020-21> accessed 8th September,2021.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid.