As western countries hoard vaccines, 9 out of 10 in low-income countries to miss out

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Dec 09, 2020, 05:00 PM(IST)

Representative image Photograph:( Reuters )

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According to estimates, nine of ten people in 70 poor countries will not be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine by next year

Coronavirus has been wreaking havoc across the world for a year now. As good news about vaccines continues to flow in, countries are now racing to undertake mass inoculation of their citizens.

A new report sheds light on inequitable distribution of vaccines around the globe. According to estimates, nine of ten people in 70 poor countries will not be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine by next year. 

Why? Simply because the first batch of successful vaccines developed by Pharma giants around the world have already been bought by western countries. Just yesterday, the UK began its inoculation programme with Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine. Other western and European countries are expected to follow suit.

According to “People’s Vaccine Alliance” led by Amnesty International, Frontline AIDS, Global Justice Now, and Oxfam, the deals already cemented by developed countries could hamper the fight against COVID-19 in many developing and poor countries.

Also read: Four trial volunteers who got Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine developed Bell's palsy

For perspective - rich countries that host 14 per cent of the global populations have brought 53 per cent of the global vaccine supply.

In Canada, one can be vaccinated over five times - that’s how many vaccines they’ve bought. If this trend replicates across the Western world, many low income countries could face a delay in inoculation by years.

The Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine, which was approved in the UK last week, has been majorly reserved by western countries. 96 per cent of its current doses have been booked by western countries.

Also read: UAE says Sinopharm vaccine has 86% efficacy against COVID-19

Moderna, too, is also focused on rich western countries, with most inoculation expected to take place in those territories. Both vaccines are priced highly especially based on affordability in low-income countries, where low temperatures required to store such vaccines could pose another challenge.

The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine which claims a much lower 70 per cent efficacy is much cheaper to allow global access, and also remains stable at normal fridge temperatures.

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