News on the new virus strain

On 21 December 2020, WHO held a virtual press conference where it threw more light on the new variants of the COVID-19 virus found in the United Kingdom and South Africa.

Dubbed B-117, this new virus strain is not more lethal than COVID-19 but is much more transmissible. See the Press Conference here: Who: “Media briefing on #COVID19 with @DrTedros” (

WHO also shared that COVAX now has agreements in place to access nearly 2 billion doses of several vaccine candidates and has laid the groundwork for further doses to be secured through contributions from donors. COVAX Facility is a global risk-sharing mechanism for pooled procurement and equitable distribution of eventual COVID-1\9 vaccines.

GAVI is co-leading COVAX, the vaccine pillar of the Access to COVID-19 tools Accelerator (CAT). These agreements mean that all COVAX’s 190 participating and eligible economies will be able to access doses to protect vulnerable groups in the first half of 2021.

At least 1.3 billion donor-funded doses will be made available to 92 economies eligible for the Gavi COVAX AMC, targeting up to 20% population coverage by the end of the year.

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