The Failure of COVAX: A Predictable Outcome

30 Pages Posted: 26 Dec 2023

See all articles by Sanjay G. Reddy

Sanjay G. Reddy

The New School - Department of Economics

Arnab Acharya

International Initiative for Impact Evaluation

Date Written: December 22, 2023

Abstract

At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, there was little cohesion in international efforts to combat the spread of the illness. COVAX, led by the World Health Organization and Gavi, was the primary international public effort aimed at making yet to be developed vaccines available to poorer countries. We show COVAX failed to fulfill its own targets, and broader equity goals. The contribution made by COVAX to vaccine access in poorer countries came only late in 2022, 15-18 months after the time many richer countries had made significant inroads into vaccinating much of their populations; and by that time many poor countries had purchased their own vaccines, often with lower efficacy than those procured by rich countries). This failure could have been predicted, and resulted from the weak conceptual thinking underlying COVAX. The central source of the problem is simple and inescapable: in the context of Covid 19, which affected the entire world, COVAX was outcompeted for limited supply of vaccines by richer counties who enjoy greater purchasing power.

Keywords: Covid-19 vaccines, COVAX, Advance Market Commitment, market power, Low- and lower-middle Income countries

JEL Classification: I1,I14,I15,L10,L11,L13,O31,O34,O38

Suggested Citation

Reddy, Sanjay G. and Acharya, Arnab, The Failure of COVAX: A Predictable Outcome (December 22, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4673596 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4673596

Sanjay G. Reddy (Contact Author)

The New School - Department of Economics ( email )

Room 1116
6 East 16th Street
New York, NY 10003
United States

Arnab Acharya

International Initiative for Impact Evaluation ( email )

1625 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Suite 450
Washington, DC 20036
United States

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