Japan will join an international framework that aims to guarantee equitable global access to potential vaccines for the novel coronavirus, the health minister said Tuesday.
The COVAX Facility will channel funds provided by middle- to high-income countries involved in the program toward a number of pharmaceutical companies that are working to develop vaccines, which will also be provided to low-income nations.
It hopes to supply 2 billion doses of a vaccine across the world by the end of 2021, covering at least 20 percent of the population of each participating country, according to the plan co-led by the World Health Organization.
The Japanese government will consider financially supporting the development of nine potential vaccines that are currently in the second to third stages of clinical trials. However, officials did not disclose how much it would invest.
"This is one way to procure vaccinations," said Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Katsunobu Kato at a press conference. "It also allows Japan to contribute to fair and globally accessible vaccines."
The joint program is led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the WHO. The Gavi is an organization working to provide vaccines to developing countries, while the CEPI is a global partnership that is working on vaccines to fight future epidemics.