(Bloomberg) -- A cargo of vaccines that arrived in Rwanda pushed Covax, the program created to deliver Covid-19 inoculations more equitably, over the one-billion mark in shots delivered so far, the World Health Organization said. 

“Covax is leading the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history, with deliveries to 144 countries to date,” the World Health Organization said in a statement. “But the work that has gone into this milestone is only a reminder of the work that remains.” 

Of 194 member states, 36 countries have vaccinated less than 10% of their population, even as richer nations having moved on to provide citizens with their third or even fourth jabs. 

“The world stands at yet another crossroads in our fight against Covid-19,” said Seth Berkley, the head of GAVI, the alliance of governments, companies, foundations and United Nations agencies that runs Covax. 

Berkley flew into Kigali, Rwanda, on Saturday with the 1.1 million vaccine doses that put Covax over its key milestone. 

The efforts to distribute vaccines to poorer nations have been hampered by wealthy countries stockpiling vaccines and factors such as border closings cutting off supplies, according to WHO.

A lack of sharing of licenses, technology, and know-how by pharmaceutical companies also meant that potential manufacturing capacity went unused, said the organization.

The initial goal of the Covax campaign was to have 2 billion vaccine doses available by the end of 2021. By September, Covax had only delivered about 243 million doses. 

Delivery has picked up in recent months, yet dozens of countries are still struggling to turn available supplies into vaccines given. 

With Shots Finally on Hand, Nations Struggle to Get Them in Arms

In Uganda, where only 3.5% of the population has been fully vaccinated, the government is planning to destroy more than 400,000 expired doses, according to local media reports. The short shelf live of vaccines has been a problem in others countries too. 

Berkley said about a million deaths can be prevented in the next year if adults in lower-income countries are immunized at the same levels achieved in wealthier nations. 

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