According to a new study, one billion more doses of the available Covid-19 vaccines than their citizens need have been purchased by the richest countries of the world which would mean that people from poorer countries will probably not be able to get a vaccine this year.
The leaders of the G7 countries however indicated their willingness to share the excess doses that they have.
“This huge vaccine excess is the embodiment of vaccine nationalism, with countries prioritising their own vaccination needs at the expense of other countries and the global recovery,” said ONE, a group that campaigns against poverty.
If the world wanted to protect and save lives, there needs to be “a massive course correction” in distribution, the ONE’s policy team added. The global death toll from the pandemic is almost 2.5 million.
Just 10 countries had so far administered 75 per cent of all the vaccinations in the world, said United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday, and described this as being “wildly uneven and unfair”.
Not even a single dose of Covid-19 vaccine had been received yet by single dose of COVID-19 vaccine, Guterres said.
“At this critical moment, vaccine equity is the biggest moral test before the global community,” he said. The meeting of the G7 countries “can create the momentum” to address the inequality, he added.
Leaders of many of the G7 countries including France, the UK and the United States have indicated that they are willing to make concessions on vaccines when they meet.
A call on Europe and the United States to pledge giving away between 3 and 5 per cent of their vaccine supply to developing countries was given by the French President Emmanuel Macron.
“It’s an unprecedented acceleration of global inequality and it’s politically unsustainable too because it’s paving the way for a war of influence over vaccines,” Macron told the Financial Times newspaper in a video link interview.
The European countries should take a concerted effort to share part of Europe’s vaccine stockpile and this view point was agreed to by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Macron said.
The UK was also willing to give away hundreds of millions of spare vaccine doses for the developing world as soon as all adults in the UK have been vaccinated, said the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
According to a report published in the Times newspaper in the UK, the global vaccine alliance, COVAX, will get up to 80 per cent of the surplus doses. COVAX was created for distributing lower income countries with Covid-19 medications.
The process is expected to start at the earliest on March 1.
It is expected that the US will make a pledge to give $4bn to the COVAX programme.
In order to be able to distribute vaccines for at least the most vulnerable 20 per cent of the population in poor countries, the facility needs $5bn this year alone, according to the World Health Organization.
(Adapted from AlJazeera.com)