Sunday, December 5

The West has more doses of vaccines than it needs, and there is no excuse not to share them | Gordon brown

Soon, the ten billionth Covid vaccine will roll off the production lines. In January, according to a recent report According to data research agency Airfinity, a tipping point will be reached when there are enough doses of vaccine for every adult on every continent. In June, the number of doses will reach 27 billion, enough to fully immunize the world’s population twice.

But despite this triumph in manufacturing, we are losing a lot in the arms race to really inject all adults in all countries. Next summer, based on current trends, more than half the world will remain unvaccinated. We are simply not distributing doses to the people who need them.

Until recently, this was due to an understandable vaccine shortage. But now there is a clear and inexplicable failure to distribute them fairly. Poor countries, which have been injected Only 2% of their adults are denied vaccinations, while wealthy countries that have already fully immunized more than 60% of their citizens continue to monopolize access to doses. Thousands of people will die this month and for the foreseeable future, not because too few vaccines are being produced, but because they are piling up in the places that need them least.

The promise made by Boris Johnson, on behalf of the G7 club of advanced economies, that the entire world would be vaccinated during 2021 and that 2022 currently has no chance of being honored. More than 100 countries will now not meet the September Deadline to inoculate even the first 10% of their population, and as things stand, they have little chance of finding more December deadline vaccinate 30%.

The World Health Organization’s Covax program is the global bulk purchasing agency created last year to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines. But even though the G7 nations promised Covax in June that they would share The 870m doses with the poorest countries, only 100 million have been released to them, and in general Only 4% of all vaccines produced worldwide have been channeled through Covax.

Our collective failure to turn the scientific success of vaccines themselves into real protection for all, and to avoid dividing the world into vaccine haves and non-haves, is a moral catastrophe. If the world were a state, we might as well call it failed.

And we are in a race against time to change things. While countries with high vaccine coverage have broken the link between Covid cases and deaths, countries that cannot access vaccines see high case rates Conduct registration of hospitalizations and deaths. Unsurprisingly, African nations have registered their anger, with pleas this week from African leaders: the Mandela inspired group of elders and African NGOs for vaccine equity. Concluding that they can no longer trust the promises of the West, they established their own wholesale purchase agency, and now they intend to develop their own vaccine manufacturing capacity.

But there is a way to go. An emergency G7 vaccine summit chaired by President Biden should be convened on the sidelines of the UN general assembly to agree on a comprehensive plan to transfer the West’s unused supplies and its over-signed vaccine delivery contracts to Covax.

We have more than enough vaccines to do this. Vaccine production is already in 1,500 million monthly dosesand will exceed 2,000 million a month by the end of the year. By then, we will have accumulated more than a billion unused vaccines. By mid-2022, that number could exceed 2 billion.

Until recently, Western leaders were able to defend the supply reserve because they feared disruptions in the manufacturing supply chain. There is now enough capacity to ensure a growing flow of vaccines for the months to come. So many doses are being produced that the biggest risk now is that millions will be wasted.

We could start right away. By the end of September, Western nations could launch 500 million doses of vaccines and, thereafter, another 200 million each month. Under this plan, by mid-2022, all low-income countries would have enough doses available to immunize 60% of their population, bringing them up to date with current vaccination levels in wealthy nations in less than a year.

Vaccine-rich nations also don’t have to choose between boosters and donations. By next year, North America and Europe could vaccinate their populations, including supply boosters and provide for all those over 12 years of age, donate to meet the needs of poor countries, and they still have more than enough doses to cover most eventualities. And if China, the world’s largest manufacturer, were persuaded to contribute to this effort, we could push that target date forward by months.

The financial cost is small compared to the benefits of resuming employment, trade and commerce. Covax only needs $ 4bn (£ 3bn) to cover your projected vaccine purchases by 2022. Comprehensive coverage, which includes treatments such as life-saving medical oxygen and diagnostic equipment, would cost about $ 30 billion a year. This is just 1.5% of the cost of Biden’s projected $ 1.9 trillion Covid stimulus and, when shared among advanced economies, it is eminently affordable.

Denying the world vaccines is counterproductive and will come back to haunt us. As the disease spreads among unvaccinated people, variants could emerge that threaten even our current vaccine coverage. Not only is the health and lives of countless millions at stake, so is the sustainability of our global economic recovery and the prospect of long-lasting and inclusive prosperity.

England Public Health Agency He estimates that vaccination has already saved 100,000 lives in England. We have to ask ourselves whether Africa and the rest of the world will trust us again if people continue to lose their lives due to lack of vaccination. As WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said, vaccine equity has become the challenge of our time. It is also a test of whether the world can muster the will to work together. Must.

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