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Covax Chief on the Biggest Takeaways From the Pandemic

Defeating a global crisis requires global action, especially when it comes to vaccinations.


As the coronavirus spread last year, health authorities around the world quickly discovered that the only way to defeat a global crisis was through global action, especially when it comes to vaccinations. So the World Health Organization joined with the global vaccine alliance Gavi and other groups to create Covax, an initiative aimed at providing vaccines equitably, especially to the billions of people in countries that lacked sufficient resources to secure supplies. At the Bloomberg New Economy Catalyst, the Eurasia Group’s Alex Kazan caught up with Covax Managing Director Aurélia Nguyen, who says the group is on track to deliver 1.8 billion doses by early 2022 despite falling short of its targets in the initial months of the rollout. So far, the program has shipped about 90 million doses to more than 130 countries. Here are edited excerpts from their conversation:

Kazan: Why wasn’t the world more prepared going into this pandemic?
Nguyen: To some extent we were prepared for a pandemic, but it was the wrong pandemic. A lot of the focus had been on influenza, and we had machinery in place thanks to seasonal flu vaccines. But we were not prepared for coronavirus.