Date :Saturday, December 25th, 2021 | Time : 15:02 |ID: 241758 | Print

Hoarding of COVID shots hindered equality of global rollout; Will 2022 be different?

SHAFAQNA FUTURE- As the world heads into the third year of the Covid-19 pandemic, international health representatives are increasingly worried that the virus will outpace the global effort to vaccinate large portions of the world in the first part of 2022. To date, only 43 percent of the world is fully vaccinated, with many countries in Africa still waiting for first doses. Despite initial commitments from COVAX to ship 2 billion doses by the end of 2021, the vaccination effort has fallen short, with only about 1.45 billion doses expected by January ,Politico told. Not only has ramped-up vaccine production failed to address shortages in low-income countries, but there remains a long way to go in addressing the myriad challenges related to getting vaccines from tarmacs in low-income countries into residents’ arms.

Meanwhile, the emergence of the Omicron variant, which some widely-used vaccines appear less effective against, could cause even wider upheaval in global supply and delivery. The global failure to share vaccines equitably is taking its toll on some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. New variants of concern mean that the risks of infection have increased in all countries for people who are not yet protected by vaccination. Safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines were developed in record time. But the virus is moving faster than the global distribution of vaccines. The vast majority have been administered in high- and upper-middle-income countries ,who reported.

The COVAX scheme initially aimed to achieve a 20 percent vaccination rate in all countries in the world by the end of 2021. The World Health Organization later set a target of 40 percent vaccination rates in all countries. But just five nations in Africa are expected to hit the 40 percent goal, with the majority of countries on the continent falling far below the 20 percent mark.

As of November, the median vaccination rate of populations in 92 countries identified by COVAX as the most in need of donations – the vast majority in sub-Saharan Africa – was just 11 percent, according to data compiled by COVID GAP, a monitoring initiative launched by Duke University and the COVID Collaborative, a grouping of public health experts.

In contrast, most high-income countries have fully vaccinated more than 50 percent of their populations, and several have administered booster doses to more than 20 percent of their populations, according to Our World in Data. Meanwhile, when accounting for planned deliveries, they projected the world would be about 650 million doses short of reaching the 40 percent goal by the end of the year.

Vaccine hoarding by wealthy countries, stalls in development and approval of some promising vaccines and other production hiccups, notably a months-long halt on exports from India’s Serum Institute, a key COVAX provider, led the initiative to more than halve its target of delivering two billion doses in 2021, 1.3 billion of which were to go to the 92 countries considered to have the highest need.

“We’re now at a point of having more than a billion doses a month of vaccines being produced, but it’s a slow trickle still to get to low-income countries and lower middle-income countries,” Dr Krishna Udayakumar, Founding Director of the Duke Global Health Innovation Center, told Al Jazeera. “So we have not solved the supply challenge by any means, but we are closer to solving it than we ever have been.”

But, he added, supply is only part of the issue. “Looking forward to 2022 I think the entire game is really going to be about vaccination. So how do we get from airports to arms? How do we convert vaccines to vaccinations?” he said. “I think we are woefully under-resourced and under-prepared for that … There’s good progress to build from but much, much more work to do and financing gaps in the billions if not tens of billions of dollars.”

“Looking forward to 2022 I think the entire game is really going to be about vaccination. So how do we get from airports to arms? How do we convert vaccines to vaccinations?” he said. “I think we are woefully under-resourced and under-prepared for that … There’s good progress to build from but much, much more work to do and financing gaps in the billions if not tens of billions of dollars.”

“I think we are woefully under-resourced and under-prepared for that … There’s good progress to build from but much, much more work to do and financing gaps in the billions if not tens of billions of dollars.” We’re now at a point of having more than a billion doses a month of vaccines being produced, but it’s a slow trickle still to get to low-income countries and lower middle-income countries,” Dr Krishna Udayakumar, founding director of the Duke Global Health Innovation Center, told Al Jazeera. “So we have not solved the supply challenge by any means, but we are closer to solving it than we ever have been.”

In a recent interview with the Associated Press news agency, CEO of the Gavi vaccine alliance Seth Berkley said that an increase in people receiving boosters in wealthy countries, and a shortening of timelines of when boosters are recommended, “means that we could see in the future a situation where those vaccines are not available for developing countries”.

“We also are beginning to see donors not wanting to donate their doses as fast as they might have because of the uncertainty now of where we are,” he said. Georgetown’s Gostin said boosting global manufacturing outside of current hubs should be prioritised in the coming year. “Low-income countries always know that donations come too little too late,” he said. “And they’re fed up of begging hat in hand for charitable donations. They want the power to make the vaccines themselves.”

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *