Seychelles to pay an initial $64,000 to gain access to COVID-19 vaccine when ready
The initiative brings together governments and manufacturers to ensure eventual COVID-19 vaccines reach those in greatest need. (Marco Verch/Flickr) Photo License: CC BY 2.0
(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles will pay an initial $64,000 to access COVID-19 vaccines developed by medical research institutions, said a top health official.
The island nation is expected to pay $1.3 million (SCR25 million) in total to the COVAX secretariat, a global initiative by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that brings together governments and manufacturers to ensure eventual COVID-19 vaccines reach those in greatest need, whoever they are and wherever they live.
The Seychelles Public Health Commissioner, Jude Gedeon, told a press conference on Thursday that "when a vaccine is approved and is available we will be one of the countries that will benefit from the vaccine."
He added that all countries that are contributing, regardless of income level, will have equal access to these vaccines once developed and medically tested. The COVID-19 pandemic has already killed more than 1 million people and disrupted the lives of billions more.
Gedeon said that there are 150 initiatives around the world to find a vaccine to fight COVID-19 and out of them 10 are in final phases.
Vaccines work by training and preparing the body's natural defences -- the immune system--- to recognise and fight off the viruses and bacteria they target. If the body is exposed to those disease-causing germs later, the body is ready to destroy them, preventing illness.
The initiative which is seen as being critical to ensuring equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines requires an urgent investment of $2 billion from sovereign donors, philanthropies and the private sectors by the end of 2020. The aim is to have 2 billion doses available by the end of 2021.
Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, has seen 153 cases of COVID-19, out of which four are still active; the other 149 people recovered.
The active cases include an Indian national on Platte island, one Seychellois who travelled abroad and the other two is a couple who lives in Dubai.
Gedeon said that since it is difficult to know where or when a case will come, it is important for people to keep practising the pillars of prevention which are wearing masks in crowded public places, keep their social distance and wash or sanitise their hands very often.