Sections of the globe may not be vaccinated before 2022: study

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Paris (AFP)

At least a fifth of the world’s population may not have access to a Covid-19 vaccine until 2022, according to a study released Wednesday, with richer countries reserving more than half of the potential doses for next year.

In the hope that vaccines can put an end to a pandemic that has killed some 1.6 million people, countries like the United States, Britain and the United Arab Emirates have already started rolling out programs to vaccination.

Eager to increase their chances of gaining access to at least one of the dozens of vaccines in development, many countries have secured allocations of several different drugs.

Rich countries – which make up just 14% of the world’s population – have pre-ordered just over half of the vaccine doses expected to be produced by the top 13 developers next year, researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg have found. School of Public Health.

There are fears that poorer countries will be left behind.

Even though drug makers all produce effective and safe vaccines and meet their maximum global manufacturing targets, the study says “at least a fifth of the world’s population will not have access to vaccines until 2022.”

The research, published in the medical journal BMJ, looked at publicly available data and found that as of mid-November, bookings totaled 7.48 billion doses – or 3.76 billion courses of vaccination, as the Most vaccines require two injections.

That’s on a projected maximum total manufacturing capacity of 5.96 billion courses by the end of 2021.

– Group purchasing scheme –

The study estimated that up to 40 percent of vaccine quotes from major manufacturers might be available for low- and middle-income countries, but said that would depend on how rich countries share what they have. purchased.

The authors, who warned that public information was incomplete, called for “greater transparency and accountability” over supporting equitable global access.

They suggested that the implications could extend far beyond health.

“To varying degrees, trade and travel to countries could experience continued disruption until access to effective preventive or therapeutic measures, such as Covid-19 vaccines, becomes more widely available,” indicates the report.

Many countries have joined a COVAX group purchasing mechanism – coordinated by the World Health Organization, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and Vaccines Alliance Gavi – to ensure that people around the world have access to a Covid vaccine – 19, whatever their wealth.

The initiative hopes to have two billion doses by the end of 2021.

But neither the United States nor Russia have so far joined the program.

– ‘Devastating crisis’ –

Jason Schwartz, of the Yale School of Public Health, said US participation in coordination efforts would be “invaluable” to help ensure that people around the world have access to vaccines “that will ultimately help end to this devastating global health crisis ”.

In a BMJ editorial, Schwartz said the two-dose requirement 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 program will be at least as difficult as the scientific challenges associated with the rapid development of safe and effective vaccines,” he said.

The Johns Hopkins authors said vaccine prices ranged from $ 6 per course to $ 74.

They found that if all vaccines worked as expected, many richer countries would have already booked at least one vaccination per person.

Researchers said Canada ordered the equivalent of four doses per person, the United States reserved just enough for one course of vaccine per person, while countries like Indonesia reserved less than one course of vaccine per person. vaccine for two people.

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