Redistribute excess Covid-19 vaccine doses, campaigners tell G7 leaders

PT Jyothi Datta Mumbai | Updated on February 19, 2021

The excess doses are sufficient to vaccinate the entire adult population of Africa   -  SIPHIWE SIBEKO

The call to share Covid-19 vaccines just got louder, with pro-health campaigners urging world leaders to commit to share excess doses with nations that cannot afford them.

Against the backdrop of the G7 Summit on Friday, a study found that five countries (Australia, Canada, Japan, UK, and US) and the EU block of 27 countries could share close to 1 billion doses of leading Covid-19 vaccines with other countries and still retain enough supply to inoculate their entire populations.

These excess doses are sufficient to vaccinate the entire adult population of Africa. The analysis was done by ONE, a global campaign to end extreme poverty and preventable diseases by 2030, co-founded by Irish rockband U2’s lead signer Bono.

Call for commitment

Pointing out that rich countries were on track to stockpile at least 1 billion surplus vaccines, the campaign urged G7 leaders to commit at the summit. ONE called on Australia, Canada, Japan, the UK, the US and the EU to share excess doses to promote global access.

It also urged them to partner with the World Health Organisation-supported Covax facility to ensure equitable redistribution of shared doses; to develop and execute a plan to share excess doses in 2021 in parallel to implementing national vaccine campaigns; and to refrain from contractual provisions in bilateral deals that prevent donations.

Response 2021

This call comes even as the WHO launched its Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan (SPRP-2021) for the Covid-19 pandemic, aimed at accelerating equitable access to new tools, including vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics, among other things. It would require about $1.96 billion to meet its objectives, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. “When we launched the first SPRP a year ago, less than 25,000 cases of Covid-19 had been reported, while on Wednesday 25,000 cases were reported roughly every 100 minutes,” he said. Globally, though, the number of reported positive cases has declined for the fifth consecutive week, he said, adding that last week saw the lowest number of reported weekly cases since October. A report on SPRP 2020 will come out in the coming days, he said. With an ask of $1.7 billion, the SPRP saw an unprecedented response, he said. About $ 1.58 billion was raised that went towards expansion in testing capacity globally, as well as shipping 19 million tests, 243 million items of personal protective equipment and supporting 12,000 ICU beds around the world.

The SPRP 2021 recognised the need to integrate Covid-19 responses into the health and development programmes, he said, referring to 2020, when countries had to divert much of their health workforce and technical capacities into Covid-19 response.

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

Published on February 19, 2021
  1. Comments will be moderated by The Hindu Business Line editorial team.
  2. Comments that are abusive, personal, incendiary or irrelevant cannot be published.
  3. Please write complete sentences. Do not type comments in all capital letters, or in all lower case letters, or using abbreviated text. (example: u cannot substitute for you, d is not 'the', n is not 'and').
  4. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.
  5. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name, to avoid rejection.