Rich nations have secured more than a billion more vaccines against COVID-19 than the amount they need to immunise their populations with two doses, according to an analysis by ONE Campaign, a global movement aimed at ending poverty and preventable diseases. According to the report, wealthy countries like the United States and Britain should share excess doses with poorer nations, otherwise the world will fail to bring the pandemic under control and it will be prolonged. In addition, billions of people will not get essential protection from SARS-Cov-2, which has infected 110.4 million people across the world and left 2.4 million dead.
"Rich countries understandably hedged their bets on vaccines early in the pandemic but with these bets paying off in spades, a massive course correction is needed if we are going to protect billions of people around the world", said Jenny Ottenhoff, ONE Campaign’s senior director for policy.
She emphasised that sharing excess doses would significantly limit the risk of deaths from COVID-19 as well as limit the emergence of new strains, thereby accelerating an end to the pandemic.
The report focused on contracts with leading producers of coronavirus vaccines – Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTEch, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Novavax, and Johnson & Johnson.
The news comes two days after United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the international community for "wildly uneven and unfair" distribution of inoculations against SARS-CoV-2. The UN chief said 75 percent of all vaccines were being given in just 10 countries, while in 130 nations not a single dose of inoculation was administered.
His statement echoes those of health experts, who warned that only an equal distribution of inoculations will rid the world of the infectious disease. A study has shown that the global economy will lose $9.2 trillion if developing countries fail to get access to vaccines.
Following Antonio Guterres' statement, French President Emmanuel Macron called on the United States and EU nations to send between four and five percent of their vaccine supplies to developing countries. British media reported that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson would pledge most of the country’s surplus vaccine supply to poorer nations.
The White House previously said that US President Joe Biden would offer $4 billion to the COVAX initiative, a global vaccine alliance aimed at distributing vaccines among countries with middle and low-income. However, according to the Financial Times, citing two members of the Biden administration, Washington will not share excess doses with poorer nations until the supply improves. The officials noted that the administration’s priority is "vaccinating Americans".