Rich countries are on course to have over a billion more doses of COVID-19 vaccines than they need, leaving poorer nations scrambling for leftover supplies.
The advocacy group, the ONE Campaign, which campaigns against poverty and preventable diseases, said wealthy countries, such as the United States and Britain, should share the excess doses to “supercharge” a fully global response to the pandemic and that a failure to do so would deny billions of people essential protection from the COVID-19-causing virus and likely prolong the pandemic.
To date, the United States, the European Union, Britain, Australia, Canada and Japan have already secured more than 3 billion doses - over a billion more than the 2.06 billion needed to give their entire populations two doses.
“This huge excess is the embodiment of vaccine nationalism,” said Jenny Ottenhoff, ONE Campaign’s senior director for policy. “Rich countries understandably hedged their bets on vaccines early in the pandemic but with these bets paying off in spades, a massive course correction is needed if we are going to protect billions of people around the world.”
The analysis found that, along with other COVID vaccine supplies procured by the global COVAX vaccine-sharing plan and in bilateral deals, the excess rich-country doses would go a long way to protecting vulnerable people in poorer countries. This would significantly reduce the risk of deaths from COVID-19, it said, as well as limiting the chances of new virus variants emerging and accelerating an end to the pandemic.