COVID-19 vaccine wastage: Stockpiling by rich nations may waste 241 million doses

WION Web Team
NEW DELHI Published: Sep 22, 2021, 03:35 PM(IST)

File photo Photograph:( AFP )

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The level of vaccine nationalism, in which countries stockpile vaccines to prioritise access for their citizens over equitable vaccine sharing, may have a significant impact on global COVID-19 case numbers and the potential generation of novel variations. 

Vaccine manufacturers in rich countries are already producing 1.5 billion doses every month, with 11 billion doses expected to be produced by the end of the year.

Even if they start administering boosters, the world's wealthiest countries could have 1.2 billion doses they don't need. A fifth of those doses - 241 million vaccinations - could go to waste if they are not donated quickly.

Poorer countries will very certainly be unable to absorb vaccines unless they have at least two months before they expire. 

According to Airfinity, a science analytics organisation that studies worldwide supplies, wealthy countries have been stockpiling vaccines.

Also read | US is wasting vaccine doses, even as cases rise

According to a new study, the level of vaccine nationalism, in which countries stockpile vaccines to prioritise access for their citizens over equitable vaccine sharing, may have a significant impact on global COVID-19 case numbers and the potential generation of novel variations. 

Watch | WION-USA Direct: UN Chief laments wastage of vaccines

US President Biden is urging world leaders to commit to vaccinating 70% of the world's population by September of next year.

But according to federal statistics received by media outlets, pharmacies and state governments in the United States have thrown away at least 15.1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccination since March 1, a considerably higher number than previously known and still likely an undercount. 

However, research suggests that wealthy countries still have vaccination surpluses, with many of them set to be discarded soon.

The numbers are striking as a result of the vaccination supply imbalance.

Only a little more than half of the world has received even one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Human Rights Watch estimates that 75 per cent of COVID-19 vaccinations have been sent to ten countries.

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, half of all vaccinations produced to date have gone to 15% of the world's population, with the world's wealthiest countries providing 100 times as many doses as the poorest. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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