HARARE, Sept 10 — International donors have raised US$700 million (RM2.9 billion) - less than half the target - to purchase future coronavirus vaccines for poor countries in a global initiative to ensure eventual vaccines do not go only to rich countries, a World Health Organisation official said today.

The Covax Advanced Market Commitment has an initial target of US$2 billion to buy the vaccines.

“Up to today, what has been mobilised so far is US$700 million ... So there is a great deal of work to be done to diversify the possible sources of funding,” Matshidiso Moeti, Africa regional director for the WHO, told an online press briefing.

Covax is co-led by the GAVI Vaccine Alliance, the WHO and the CEPI Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. Its aim is to deliver 2 billion doses of effective, approved Covid-19 vaccines by the end of 2021.

At least eight African countries, including South Africa, Gabon, Namibia and Equatorial Guinea had agreed to self-finance access to the vaccine, Moeti said.

The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said last month the continent had started to slowly “bend the curve” of Covid-19 infections as measures like mask-wearing and social distancing slow the spread of the pandemic. — Reuters