COVAX estimates global COVID-19 vaccine deliveries will fall 30 percent below goal
The COVAX program estimates that its global COVID-19 vaccine deliveries will fall almost 30 percent below its goal of sending out 2 billion doses by the end of the year.
The World Health Organization (WHO), the GAVI Vaccine Alliance, UNICEF and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness predicted that by the end of 2021, about 1.4 billion doses would be available for the program designed to make shots more accessible to lower-income nations.
This year’s fourth quarter is expected to see an uptick in vaccine deliveries, but it will not be enough to fulfill the original target for the year, the international organizations forecast. The current “most likely scenario” is that another 1.1 billion doses will be provided between September and the end of the year.
The international organizations attributed the predicted shortfall to several factors, including restrictions on exports from the Serum Institute of India — a key supplier for vaccines — and problems increasing manufacturing at vaccine facilities, particularly those that supply Johnson & Johnson and the AstraZeneca vaccines.
Lags in regulatory approval for other vaccines created by U.S. company Novavax and Chinese firm Clover have also contributed to the lack of expected doses.
Under the most likely forecast, COVAX would reach 2 billion doses available for delivery between January and February.
The program is requesting that donors and manufacturers provide transparent supply schedules and allow other countries without enough doses to go ahead in the “queue” before nations that have an adequate domestic supply.
The shortage of expected doses comes as the WHO has increased its calls on rich countries to stop giving their residents booster doses as other countries haven’t had enough to distribute.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus updated his call for a global moratorium on booster shots on Wednesday, saying they should not be administered until at least the end of the year. That should give all countries a chance to reach an at least 40 percent vaccination rate, he said.
President Biden’s administration has said it aims to begin administering booster shots on Sept. 20.
Worldwide, 5.56 billion vaccines doses have been given out, mainly in richer countries.