Contrasts in the global vaccination picture

Contrasts in the global vaccination picture 2
Contrasts in the global vaccination picture 2

About a quarter of US adults, or more than 66 million people, have completed the vaccination program, according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on April 8.

CDC data also shows that nearly 175 million vaccine doses have been administered, accounting for about 76% of the more than 229 million doses distributed in the US.

American medical staff vaccinated a man with the Covid-19 vaccine in Pasadena, California in January. Photo: Reuters.

The UK has also reached a new milestone in its vaccine deployment efforts, with more than 6 million people having completed the vaccination program.

Scientists at University College London (UCL) said that based on analysis of new epidemic modeling, the UK could pass a critical threshold when the proportion of people `safe` from the virus through vaccination, who have been infected or

Meanwhile, Covax, an equitable vaccine distribution project backed by the World Health Organization (WHO), aims to have enough vaccines to provide for 20% of the population of participating countries and territories.

The vaccine gap between the `haves` and `have-nots` is widening, causing frustration and possibly prolonging the pandemic.

`It’s unfair,` said Zain Rizvi, an expert on pharmaceutical access at the watchdog organization Public Citizen.

So far, the vaccination race has been dominated by a handful of relatively wealthy countries.

Our World in Data estimates, based on reported data, that at least 5% of the global population has received at least one jab, with the actual number likely ranging around 6-7%.

Priority supply agreements, export restrictions and other vaccine hoarding methods by many rich countries have contributed to a sharp drop in supplies globally and forced countries to scramble to place orders.

The Covax project has delivered nearly 38.4 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine to 102 countries and territories after 6 weeks of launch.

`It’s nice to see a small amount of vaccine being shipped to countries around the world. But the big picture is more worrying than reassuring because we have so many things going wrong,` Suerie Moon

While the US is administering millions of vaccine doses every day, some countries are still waiting for their first shots or have just started their vaccination programs.

WHO Africa director Matshidiso Moeti said the slow pace of vaccination on the continent was due to `supply shortages, lack of finance and qualified staff`, among other logistical problems.

As of the end of March, at least 30 countries around the world have not vaccinated any people and many developing countries from Bangladesh to Tanzania and Peru may have to wait until 2024 to vaccinate everyone.

Many officials and experts argue that closing the vaccine gap is not only an obligation but also a concern for rich countries.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on April 5 called for speeding up vaccine distribution to poor countries, warning that the pandemic could push 150 million people into poverty and threaten growth.

On the same day, when announcing the appointment of a new coordinator for Covid-19 and health security, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also mentioned the threat of mutations.

`Even if we vaccinate all 332 million Americans tomorrow, we still cannot be completely safe from the virus, which is still spreading around the world, mutating into new strains that can easily

Contrasts in the global vaccination picture

A hospital security officer was vaccinated against Covid-19 in Nairobi, Kenya in March. Photo: AP.

The global Covid-19 response coordinator that Blinken introduced was Gayle Smith, who used to be the executive director of ONE Campaign, a non-governmental organization that called on rich countries to share 5% of surplus vaccines after the pandemic.

A survey of 788 Americans by the Virginia Commonwealth University research group found strong support for the idea of donating 10% of US vaccines to poorer countries, but there was disagreement over timing.

In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proposed in February to donate vaccines to 20 foreign allies, but the plan was delayed due to domestic opposition and lawsuits.

The Biden administration’s moves so far have focused on long-term efforts to boost global vaccine deployment.

Last month, the US, India, Japan and Australia also pledged to cooperate in producing and distributing up to one billion doses of vaccine, with a focus on Southeast Asia, before the end of 2022.

`Time keeps passing and the situation is not getting better yet,` Moon said.

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