A year after the delivery of the first vaccines against covid-19, the distribution of these drugs continues to divide the world in two. While in the world’s wealthiest countries the majority of citizens have already been vaccinated and progress is being made in delivering booster doses, in the territories of the global south the vaccines against the coronavirus have not even reached 10% of the population. This figure shows, once again, that the promise of global solidarity with vaccines has been broken. The challenge of delivering 2 billion doses against the coronavirus to poor countries and vaccinate at least 20% of the population of all regions by the end of 2021, well, it has been halfway.
Global immunization registries show that, today, developing countries have only received half of the promised vaccines for global solidarity initiatives. Specifically, as has transpired this Sunday, the total number of doses delivered so far in the global south amounts to 1 billion, compared to almost 10,000 million vials produced to date worldwide. According to the latest balance of the World Health Organization (WHO), a total of 144 poor countries and regions of the globe have already had access to the vaccines provided by the ‘Covax’ platform, created at the beginning of the pandemic to guarantee access universal to covid-19 vaccines.
The ‘milestone’ of the 1,000 million vaccines delivered by ‘Covax’ to low- and middle-income countries was achieved this very weekend, just after the last delivery that left little more than one million doses in Rwanda; one of the most advanced African countries in the vaccination campaign and where, even so, the complete vaccination rates are barely around 40%. It is only necessary to cross the border to see that, as reflected in the registros de ‘Our World in data’, in Uganda only 22% of the population has been vaccinated, in Tanzania 3.4% and in countries such as Burundi or the Democratic Republic of the Congo the percentage of vaccinated does not even reach 1%. In Burundi, for example, there are only 3,500 people who have received a complete guideline against covid-19.
This gap in access to vaccines, which has been maintained and amplified for a year now, a danger to a world still immersed in a global pandemic. “It is not ethical to maintain such an unequal world. But it is also not intelligent to let the virus roam half the world, because this could give rise to more contagious or more deadly variants that they return us all to the starting point”, Rafael Vilasanjuan, member of the board of directors of the Global Alliance for Vaccination (GAVI), explained just a few months ago to this newspaper about the dangers of leaving half the world without protection against covid-19.
Target, 20% of the population
So far, half of the states attached to the ‘Covax’ platform depend on this initiative to provide 90% of the necessary vaccines to protect its population against the covid-19 pandemic. As several platforms and onegés have been denouncing for months, this situation is due to the fact that from the beginning of the pandemic until now, the richest countries in the world have monopolized the vast majority of doses produced (reserving many more doses than are necessary to immunize its population) and have left the states of the global south at the mercy of solidarity programs.
The most optimistic forecasts suggest that the global distribution of vaccines will reach a fairer balance during 2022. The World Health Organization, for its part, calculates that during the first half of the year milestone will be reached the 2,000 million vaccines against covid-19 distributed among the countries of the global south. This, in practice, would be equivalent to at least 20% of the global population having been given injections against the coronavirus.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.