The World Health Organisation's (WHO) Regional Office for Europe is in constant contact with BiH authorities and the European Commission in order to resolve the issue of the procurement of vaccines for Bosnia, WHO Director for Europe Hans Kluge said for N1 during Thursday's press conference adding that talks were held with the BiH Ambassador last week, confirming Wednesday statements by BiH Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic that Austria is the EU's coordinating country.
Kluge confirmed that their teams are working on this matter 24/7, not just with Bosnia. He acknowledged that the COVAX facility has not become operational just yet and that it might take some more time. In the meantime, Kluge added that the WHO Regional Office is cooperating with the European Commission regarding donations to the Balkans, where Austria plays the coordinator role.
However, the Regional director agreed that the vaccine distribution must be increased as do the production capacities.
The WHO Europe’s Project Manager for Immunization Siddhartha Datta acknowledged that there is a clear disparity between the needs and the quantities of vaccines available on the market.
According to him, the COVAX facility is trying to ensure that countries regardless of income level have access to vaccines. That is why COVAX created its scheduling mechanism. However, he pointed out that there was good news with vaccines being delivered to Ghana via COVAX. In his opinion, this process has just begun, and the rest is just a matter of time.
COVAX delivered the first doses of vaccines to Ghana and Ivory Coast this week, and new shipments and new data on how many vaccines will be available to countries that have applied to procure vaccines through this system are expected in the coming days.