Will a half-billion vaccines for developing countries make a difference?

half-billion vaccines for developing countries
East Timor receives a Covax vaccination gift from the United States.

As many poorer nations struggle to give their populations vaccines against coronavirus. The United States has committed to sending 500 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. On Thursday, US President Joe Biden, who is in the UK for the G7 conference, claimed that this would be “the single greatest purchase and donation of Covid-19 vaccines by any one country ever”. He promised that the US will be “the vaccination arsenal in our fight against Covid”. Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, who spoke alongside him, said he could see a “light at the end of the tunnel.”

What has the United States promised?

Also, it has agreed to pay Pfizer a “not for profit” sum for the dosages. The vaccines “will be sent from August,” according to Mr. Biden, to “almost 100 low- and lower-middle-income nations.”

They will be given to countries under the international Covax vaccine-sharing system and an African Union program that targets to vaccinate the world’s most vulnerable 20% of the population. The current US contribution is much bigger than previous pledges from other countries. Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) for Africa, said the US gift is “a huge step forward”. Other G7 nations have begun to provide further dosages. The G7 countries include Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom, in addition to the United States.

President Biden is in the United Kingdom for a G7 summit.

Are vaccines contributions sufficient?

The scope of the problem is enormous, and vaccinations is urgent.

“To vaccinate at least 10% of the population in every country by September, we need an extra 250 million… vaccine doses,” stated WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“Sharing vaccinations now is critical to eliminating the pandemic’s acute phase,” he added.

Therefore, 1.3 billion doses have been obtained for distribution to poorer nations this year as of February 2021. Covax’s original goal was to provide two billion vaccine doses worldwide by the end of this year, but the goal has now been lowered to 1.8 billion doses for 92 low-income countries by early 2022.

According to Prof Peter Hotez of the Baylor College of Medicine in the United States, a vaccine expert, described the difficulty in a tweet, adding, “We sorely need a US foreign policy and American leadership to take on this task.”

Therefore, all of these pledges are far short of the 11 billion doses that the WHO believes should be there to vaccinate the whole globe to a level of 70%. The point at which the virus’s propagation is considerably less. “Not simply agreements to buy the anticipated insufficient supply, but urgent new manufacturing to manufacture billions of additional doses within a year,” tweeted Peter Maybarduk, head of Public Citizen’s global access to medicines program. The US dosages, according to Oxfam America’s Niko Lusiani, were “a drop in the bucket” as per the demand.


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