Punjab to join COVAX facility

The Punjab Government recently announced that it is to join COVAX facility in order to increase its COVID-19 supplies.

Why is Punjab joining COVAX facility?

There is a huge vaccine shortage in India. This is slowing the vaccination efforts of the country. Thus the State Government of Punjab is planning to join COVAX facility.

What is the issue in Punjab joining COVAX facility?

The COVAX facility has so far been operating only at the level of nations. The facility works to prevent vaccine nationalism. It aims to make sure that COVID-19 vaccines reach both low-income level and high-income level countries. It is not even clear if a State can join the facility.

The bigger view of the problem

  • Punjab is not eligible to get access to COVAX Facility. Above all, currently COVAX itself is struggling to get vaccine supplies.

Why did the problem arise?

  • This has come up mainly because India is administering only three vaccines currently. Of this, the administration of the Russian Sputnik V was recently begun. In this situation, there is a high shortage of vaccine in the country.
  • This is because the rich economies such as USA, UK, and the others in the European Union have made early bookings with vaccine developers. The US has spent 10 billion USD as advance payments to six manufacturers. Such moves were not initiated in India. Neither the State Government nor the Central Government made initiatives to make advance payments in buying vaccines.

Have any states received vaccines from COVAX?

So far, more than 59 million vaccine doses have been provided to 122 countries. However, there was no sub-national entity so far.

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