Story at a glance
- Several potential COVID-19 vaccines are currently being pushed through the authorization process.
- There are still many questions about the cost of the vaccine and how it will be distributed.
- Many lower-income countries are concerned they will be shut out of the vaccine market.
After the United Kingdom became the first Western nation to authorize a COVID-19 vaccination, millions of people are wondering when they will be able to take the vaccine. But 9 out of 10 people in nearly 70 poor countries will not get a COVID-19 vaccine next year, according to a new report.
“No one should be blocked from getting a life-saving vaccine because of the country they live in or the amount of money in their pocket,” said Anna Marriott, Oxfam’s health policy manager, in a release regarding the analysis of Airfinity data for November. “But unless something changes dramatically, billions of people around the world will not receive a safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19 for years to come.”
BREAKING NEWS ON THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
Oxfam International has joined the People's Vaccine Alliance, a coalition of global and national organizations and activists, in calling for a global agreement under the World Health Assembly to share information and technology and distribute COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics, tests and treatments free of charge to every person in the world.
“Rich countries have enough doses to vaccinate everyone nearly three times over, whilst poor countries don’t even have enough to even reach health workers and people at risk,” said Mohga Kamal Yanni, from the People’s Vaccine Alliance, in a release. “The current system, where pharmaceutical corporations use government funding for research, retain exclusive rights and keep their technology secret to boost profits, could cost many lives.”
There are currently 67 lower-middle income countries, not including those that have made their own bilateral deals, that will only have access to a vaccine through the COVAX Advanced Market Commitment. The global initiative works directly with vaccine manufacturers to "provide countries worldwide equitable access to safe and effective vaccines," according to the World Health Organization, but its success depends upon the participation of other countries. While 92 countries in total have signed up, the AMC said it has secured only 700 million doses from the leading vaccine candidates for a population of 3.6 billion. Most leading vaccines — except the Johnson & Johnson vaccine — require two doses per person.
“The hoarding of vaccines actively undermines global efforts to ensure that everyone, everywhere can be protected from COVID-19. Rich countries have clear human rights obligations not only to refrain from actions that could harm access to vaccines elsewhere, but also to cooperate and provide assistance to countries that need it,” said Steve Cockburn, Amnesty International’s Head of Economic and Social Justice, in the release. “By buying up the vast majority of the world’s vaccine supply, rich countries are in breach of their human rights obligations. Instead, by working with others to share knowledge and scale up supply, they could help bring an end to the global COVID-19 crisis.”
The affected countries are Afghanistan, Angola, Algeria, Benin, Bhutan, Burundi, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Eswatini, Gambia, Ghana, The Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Kenya, Kiribati, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao PDR, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Timor Leste, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Ukraine, Vanuatu, West Bank and Gaza, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
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