Thursday, December 23, 2021

Vaccine Hoarding Carries On

 As 2022 approaches, with nearly nine billion vaccine doses administered worldwide, public health experts say goals of global vaccine equity have fallen woefully short. Not only has ramped-up vaccine production failed to address shortages in low-income countries, but there remains a long way to go in addressing the myriad challenges related to getting vaccines from tarmacs in low-income countries into residents’ arms.

Meanwhile, the emergence of the Omicron variant, which some widely-used vaccines appear less effective against, could cause even wider upheaval in global supply and delivery.

“By virtually every measure, global vaccine distribution and equity have been an abysmal failure and a deep moral crisis,”  Lawrence Gostin, the director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown Law, told Al Jazeera. “I think that’s unquestionable.”

“We’re now at a point of having more than a billion doses a month of vaccines being produced, but it’s a slow trickle still to get to low-income countries and lower-middle-income countries,” Dr Krishna Udayakumar, founding director of the Duke Global Health Innovation Center, told Al Jazeera. “So we have not solved the supply challenge by any means..."

Former UK prime minister Gordon Brown says the failure to distribute vaccines to poorer countries is a "stain on our global soul".

He said people were realising coronavirus would "come back to haunt" every country, without a push to get the whole world vaccinated next year. Brown said the uneven distribution of Covid vaccines "is one of the greatest policy failures of our times" and had been caused by wealthy countries hoarding and stockpiling vaccines.

He predicted another five million people could die from the virus worldwide if better vaccine access was not achieved soon.

No comments: