Vax redistribution to low-income countries falls short of 1 billion target

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on August 31, 2021

‘World mishandling vaccine supplies, with several stocks now headed for expiry’

The slow pace of redistribution of Covid-19 vaccines from high income to low-income countries has been flagged by the former co-chairs of the Independent Panel on Pandemic Preparedness and Response (IPPPR) – Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia, and Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand.

“The Independent Panel report recommended that high-income countries ensure that at least one billion doses of vaccines available to them were redistributed to 92 low- and middle-income countries by September 1, and a further one billion doses by mid-2022,” said Sirleaf and Clark. “Ensuring that all those around the world most vulnerable to the impact of the virus, including healthcare workers, older people and those with significant comorbidities, can be vaccinated quickly is a critical step towards curbing the pandemic.”

Further, they pointed out that to date 99 million dose donations have been shipped via Covax, of which, only 89 million have been shipped to the 92 Advance Market Commitment countries – far short of the one billion doses the Independent Panel has called for.

“High-income countries have ordered over twice as many doses as are needed for their populations..... Reaching the goal of redistributing one billion doses by September 1 would be a vital step in protecting the five billion people aged 15 and over who live in low- and middle-income countries. The 600 million doses which have already been pledged now need to be delivered with urgency,” said the co-chairs.

They also called for rapid action on increasing vaccine production in low- and middle-income countries. “Manufacturing capacity has to be increased and knowledge and technology shared in order to scale up production quickly. This pandemic has shown the global risks of locating the know-how and manufacturing facilities in just a handful of countries.”

Their statement comes even as the British Medical Journal said in a recent article that the world was, infact, mishandling its vaccine supplies, with several stocks now headed for expiry and being destroyed.

Published on August 31, 2021

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