Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Vaccine? What about the poor?

 The blog as an advocate of world socialism makes no apologies for drawing attention to the various national inequalities of the pandemic.

Billions of the world's population may not have access to a Covid-19 vaccine until 2022, according to a study by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, with wealthier nations reserving more than half of next year's potential doses. Eager to increase their chances of having access to at least one of the dozens of vaccines in development, many nations have snapped up allocations of several different drugs. Wealthy nations -- accounting for just 14 percent of the global population -- have pre-ordered just over half of the vaccine doses expected to be produced by the 13 leading developers next year.

Even if the drug makers all produce effective, safe vaccines and meet their maximum global manufacturing targets, the study said "at least a fifth of the world's population would not have access to vaccines until 2022".

The research, published in the BMJ medical journal, looked at publicly available data and found that as of mid-November, reservations totalled 7.48 billion doses -- equivalent to 3.76 billion immunisation courses, because most vaccines require two jabs. That is out of a total maximum projected manufacturing capacity of 5.96 billion courses by the end of 2021.  Only 40 percent of the vaccine courses from the leading manufacturers might be available for low- and middle-income countries, but said this would depend on how rich countries share what they have bought.

The implications could go well beyond health.

"To varying degrees, trade with and travel to countries might face continued disruption until access to effective preventive or treatment measures, such as Covid-19 vaccines, becomes more widely available," the report said.

In the BMJ editorial, Jason Schwartz, of the Yale School of Public Health, said the requirement for two doses and the very low temperatures needed to store some of the vaccines added to the challenges for many countries.

"The operational challenges of the global Covid-19 vaccination programme will be at least as difficult as the scientific challenges associated with rapidly developing safe and effective vaccines."

No comments: