Wealthy nations have already secured over 50 per cent of the promised doses of potential Covid-19 vaccine, according to a report by Oxfam.
“Wealthy nations representing just 13 per cent of the world’s population have already cornered more than half (51 per cent) of the promised doses of leading Covid-19 vaccine candidates,” the report said.
The report is based on the analysis of the deals that pharmaceutical corporations and vaccine producers have struck so far with nations around the world for the five leading vaccine candidates currently in phase 3 clinical trials. This includes Gamaleya/Sputnik, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna and Sinovac.
The analysis is based on data collected by Airfinity. According to Oxfam’s calculations, the combined production capacity of these five vaccine candidates stands at 5.94 billion doses. This is enough for 2.97 billion people, provided all of these vaccines require two doses.
“Supply deals have already been agreed for 5.303 billion doses, of which 2.728 billion (51 per cent) have been bought by developed countries, including the UK, the US, Australia, Hong Kong and Macau, Japan, Switzerland and Israel, as well as the European Union,” Oxfam said.
“The remaining 2.575 billion doses have been bought by or promised to developing countries including India, Bangladesh, China, Brazil, Indonesia and Mexico, among others,” it said.
The supply of vaccines to developing countries includes 300 million doses from AstraZeneca pledged to the Covax Advanced Market Commitment (AMC).
“To avoid double counting, we have assumed the recent additional agreement between the AMC and the Serum Institute of India to ‘accelerate’ the production of 100 million AstraZeneca or Novavax vaccines already captured within those companies’ respective supply deals with the Serum Institute,” Oxfam clarified.
Not enough vaccines
Oxfam also warned that the companies leading the vaccine race currently do not have the capacity to manufacture sufficient amount of vaccines to vaccinate everyone who needs one.
“Even in the extremely unlikely event that all five vaccines succeed, nearly two-thirds (61 per cent) of the world’s population will not have a vaccine until at least 2022. It is far more likely some of these experiments will fail, leaving the number of people without access even higher,” Oxfam said.
The agency further called for a people’s vaccine which can be made “available to everyone free of charge and distributed fairly based on need.”
Chema Vera, Interim Executive Director of Oxfam International, said: “Governments will prolong this crisis in all of its human tragedy and economic damage if they allow pharmaceutical companies to protect their monopolies and profits. No single corporation will ever be able to meet the world’s need for a Covid-19 vaccine. That’s why we are calling on them to share their knowledge free of patents and to get behind a quantum leap in production to keep everyone safe.”
“The economic case for requiring pharmaceutical companies to share their vaccine knowledge free of patents so that production can be scaled up as fast as possible could not be clearer,” the agency said.