The world is yet to reach the targeted Covid 19 vaccination and many of the countries would fail to vaccinate 70 per cent of the population by September, warned the People’s Vaccine Alliance. The World Health Organisation has a target of reaching 70 per cent by mid-year.
People’s Vaccine Alliance leaders said that only 52 countries have met the 70 per cent vaccination target so far more than a year after vaccines were introduced. It said that 69 countries are yet to achieve 40 per cent coverage and 21 countries even 10 per cent coverage.
LOW AND HIGH INCOME COUNTRIES
When more than 11 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered worldwide, only Il per cent of people in low-income countries are vaccinated, compared with 73 per cent of those in high-in come countries, as of last month. The Alliance, a coalition of over 90 organizations including the African Alliance, Oxfam, andUNAIDS said that it would take another two and a half years for low-income countries to vaccinate 70 per cent of their populations with an initial two doses at the current rate.
Noting that progress had been too slow in vaccination, the campaigners called on governments to do more to ensure doses are getting to people in countries behind target: “Too many still haven’t received enough supply, have had unpredictable access, and have faced other challenges delivering doses to people in need,” they noted. They also asked for urgent action to redress the spiralling COVID-19 treatment access divide caused by the same rich country hoarding an ofit-driven Big Pharma business model that excludes people living in poverty throughout the world.
Policy Advisor to the People’s Vaccine Alliance Julia Kosgei said: “The donation model has failed to deliver vaccines, has thwarted effective vaccine roll out plans, and is completely unsustainable. More than two yours into the pandemic, millions have yet to have the initial doses needed to protect them from this deadly disease.”
“How is it that my elderly grandma in rural Kenya is still unprotected from COVID, yet pharmaceutical companies are hitting unheard of profits and say the world is swimming in doses? These corporations have repeatedly demonstrated that they are not willing to do the right thing for humanity. Governments must step in and ensure everyone, everywhere has the vaccines they need.” Kosgei said.
TRANSFERRING TECHNOLOGY TO BOOST LOCAL MANUFACTURING
The campaigners pointed out that transferring technology to boost local manufacturing will help address ongoing concerns including on-the-ground distribution challenges vaccine hesitancy, and an overall shortfall in doses,
For the past year and a half, countries have been discussing a widely supported waiver of intellectual property for COVID-19 vaccines (so-called TRIPS waiver) at the World Trade Organization (WTO), which would remove barriers to developing countries being able to produce their own doses of COVID-19 medical tools.
The Alliance is calling on President Biden to use his influence to ensure all world leaders back the full TRIPS waiver not only for vaccines, but also for test and treatments to give countries the protection and dignity of being able to produce COVID-19 medical tools themselves, rather than relying on a handful of Western pharmaceutical companies. The Alliance is also calling on increased funding for manufacturing and vaccine delivery.
Meanwhile, more than 100 qualified manufacturers in Asia, Africa and Latin America could be producing doses of the mRNA COVID vaccines, but this capacity is going unused without the cooperation and technology transfer from Pfizer, Moderna and BioNTech. At the Annual General Meetings of Pfizer and Modema, the companies opposed shareholder proposals by Oxfam for each to study the feasibility of transferring vaccine technology to qualified manufacturers in low- and middle-income countries.
Anna Marriott, Oxfam’s Health Policy Manager, said: “At this second COVID Summit, we should be acting urgently on the key thing low- and middle-income countries are asking for: the ability to make their own vaccines for their own people. The unwillingness to share the vaccine technology and funding shortfalls are stunting our global response to COVID-19. Governments, including the US, must step up funding for immediate vaccine roll out and for the mRNA hub and the manufacturing capacity needed to build a production network in the global South. This would reduce dependence on a failing charity model and allow the world to pull out of this pandemic once and for all.”
The Alliance also says the scale of the pandemic in developing nations has been massively underestimated due to the lack of testing available. Last week the World Health Organization estimated the true global death toll from the COVID pandemic to be almost 15 million lives lost, with a death toll in lower income countries four times higher than in high income countries.
Marriott continued: “Voluntary measures from companies have delivered wild profits but also persistent vaccine inequity, new waves and new variants, unreliable and insufficient donations, and billions of people still waiting for their tests, treatments and vaccines.”