Wednesday, 24 February, 2021


Rich nations stockpiling a billion more COVID-19 shots than needed

Joe Biden to pledge $US4 billion for WHO's COVAX global vaccine effort Biden WH Won't Share Vaccines Until Most Americans Inoculated
Bennie Garza | 19 February, 2021, 18:03

The drug seemed the most suitable for countries such as Africa since it is easier to ship and store in a regular fridge than other vaccines, making it suitable for remote areas. The UN chief has pointed out that richer countries have bought up a huge percentage of the vaccines available, leaving few for the poor.

He has asked Sir Patrick Vallance to work with global partners, including the World Health Organization and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), as well as industry and scientific experts to advise the G7 on speeding up the process for developing vaccines, treatments and tests for common pathogens.

The announcement is a step toward the United States, the world's richest and most powerful country, resuming its traditional leadership role during a global crisis.

Some countries have reserved enough doses to immunize their own people multiple times over.

UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres also slammed in his speech the "wildly uneven and fair" rollout of COVID-19 jabs, adding 10 nations accounted for 75 percent of all vaccines. "At this critical moment, vaccine equity is the biggest moral test before the global community".

He also shared that COVAX's interim distribution forecast of AstraZeneca vaccines for the Philippines will begin in late February.

And we've seen familiar scenarios before.

The previous pandemic killed at least 18,000 people - and probably many more, the majority of fatalities occurred in Africa and Southeast Asia.

A recent study commissioned by the International Chamber of Commerce concluded an unequal allocation of injections could deprive the world economy of as much as $9.2 trillion, as much as half of which would fall on advanced economies.

"President Biden will focus on a global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including coordination on vaccine production, distribution, and supplies, as well as continued efforts to mobilize and cooperate against the threat of emerging infectious diseases by building country capacity and establishing health security financing", she said.

French President Emmanuel Macron called on Thursday for the U.S. and European nations to allocate up to 5% of current vaccine supplies to developing countries, one day before Friday's Group of Seven meeting of world leaders, expected to deal mainly with the global response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Friday's G-7 meeting - and a speech by Biden at the Munich Security Conference the same day - comes the day the United States officially rejoins the Paris climate agreement, the largest worldwide effort to curb global warming.

COVAX is a partnership created previous year under the World Health Organization to help deliver billions of expensive vaccine doses to poor countries that can't afford them.

COVAX is aiming to vaccinate 20% of the population of low-income countries this year.

The WHO Regional Office for Africa, in a statement issued from its headquarters in Brazzaville, Congo on Thursday stated the continent was planning for a rapid vaccine rollout.

China is now providing vaccine aid to 53 developing countries, as well as exporting vaccines to 22 countries. There are allegations that China blocked a deal between Taiwan and Pfizer to ensure the country could not receive the vaccine.

The vaccine is said to be largely ineffective against a variant of COVID-19 discovered by South African scientists.

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