The program, known as COVAX, was announced on Monday, and will allow the 156 participating countries to pool their resources to clinch bulk deals with pharmaceutical companies while their vaccines are still in development, in an effort to ensure faster and more equitable distribution.
The W.H.O. on Monday urged more rich nations to support the project, which aims to deliver about two billion doses worldwide by the end of 2021. The W.H.O. needs the financial muscle of the rich nations to, in effect, subsidize the vaccines for the poorer members.
Three major economies — the United States, China and Russia — have not joined. All three are pursuing their own vaccine plans.
In a virtual appearance before the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, insisted that Russia’s vaccine was safe and effective, and offered free shots to U.N. staff. Russia’s approval of the vaccine, which came with much fanfare, occurred before it had been tested in late-stage trials.
More than 130 potential vaccines are estimated to be in development globally.
Mexico’s foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, said Tuesday that COVAX “represents the most secure means of access, because it includes vaccines from very different countries of the world.”
Mexico has seen one of the world’s worst coronavirus outbreaks, with over 700,000 recorded cases, or 555 per 100,000 people, and nearly 74,000 deaths, according to a Times database.
In other news around the world:
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand has apologized after being photographed with supporters without social distancing or masks last week while on the campaign trail, drawing criticism from the public and opposition politicians.
The awards ceremony for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize has been canceled because of the pandemic, the Norwegian Nobel Institute announced on Tuesday. Instead of the usual ceremony at Oslo City Hall, a scaled-back event will be held at the city’s university with a limited number of guests on Dec. 10. The prize will be announced at a news conference on Oct. 9.
Russia has reported a sharp rise in the number of new cases, with Moscow the epicenter of a nationwide spike in infections. Official figures released on Tuesday showed 6,215 new cases over the previous 24 hours — a marked increase from the start of the month and the highest number of daily cases since mid-July. Of those, 980 were reported in Moscow.
South Korea on Tuesday suspended a plan to provide free flu shots for about 19 million people, amid reports of problems with storing some of the vaccines during transport. The number of newly confirmed cases in the country, which is battling a second wave of infections, has stayed below 100 for the past three days. But millions are set to travel domestically next week to celebrate a five-day holiday.
Sixteen more residential areas in Madrid exceeded the infection rate criteria to return to lockdown restrictions, government data showed Tuesday. Those areas are in addition to 37 that went back under lockdown on Monday, raising the prospect that restrictions on movement will soon spread further across Spain’s capital region. Ignacio Aguado, the deputy head of the Madrid region, said that health care services were struggling to control the spread of the virus, while Salvador Illa, Spain’s health minister, urged residents of Madrid to stay at home as much as possible.
Reporting was contributed by Livia Albeck-Ripka, Stephen Castle, Troy Closson, Rick Gladstone, Abby Goodnough, Andrew Higgins, Jan Hoffman, Mike Ives, Anatoly Kurmanaev, Apoorva Mandavilli, Victor Mather, Patrick McGeehan, Raphael Minder, Claire Moses, Campbell Robertson, Simon Romero, Dagny Salas, Anna Schaverien, Christopher F. Schuetze, Megan Specia, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Eileen Sullivan, Katherine J. Wu, Carl Zimmer and Karen Zraick.