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Gavi: Countries that misuse donated COVID-19 vaccines must pay COVAX

Countries that are found to have violated their priority lists for COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX facility will be made accountable and required to pay for the otherwise donated doses, a spokesperson for the Gavi Alliance has said.

The statement came after Philippine local officials and an actor received their first doses of COVID-19 vaccine even when the program has yet to complete the inoculation of health care workers, the top sector in the priority list.  

“Variations from the planned prioritization would constitute misuse unless updates to plans are shared with COVAX and are documented, rationalized, and evidence-based,” Gavi said in a statement.

“If misuse is determined, countries will be held to account and will be required to reimburse COVAX,” it added.

Gavi said COVAX, the World Health Organization, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations would evaluate claims that the prioritization was not being followed.

The alliance issued the remark amid increasing reports of line-jumping in the Philippine government’s vaccination program.

“In order to stop this pandemic from continuing to escalate, it is absolutely critical that when doses first become available to countries and territories, they go to people where the impact will be the greatest,” Gavi said.

Frontline healthcare workers are the top priority for vaccination against COVID-19, followed by senior citizens and other sectors. -NB, GMA News