COVID VACCINE: WHO says Vaccines running out in poorer nations
A large number of poorer countries receiving Covid-19 vaccines through a global sharing scheme do not have enough doses to continue programs, the World Health Organization has said.
WHO senior adviser Dr. Bruce Aylward said the Covax program had delivered 90 million doses to 131 countries. But he said this was nowhere near enough to protect populations from a virus still spreading worldwide. The shortages come as some nations in Africa see a third wave of infections.
On Monday, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa called for an end to vaccine hoarding by wealthier countries as his government scrambled to curb a steep rise in cases. On a continental level, only 40 million doses have been administered so far in Africa.
To address this, he said his government was working with Covax to create a regional hub to produce more vaccines in South Africa. Covax was created last year to ensure Covid-19 doses were made available around the world. With richer countries subsidizing costs for poorer nations.
WHO and International Organizations on Vaccinations
Led by the WHO and other international organizations, Covax initially set a target of providing two billion doses worldwide by the end of 2021.
Uganda, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, and Trinidad and Tobago are just some of the countries that have reported running out of vaccines in recent days. At a WHO briefing in Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday, Dr. Aylward acknowledged the extent of those shortages in stark terms.
Of the 80 low-income countries involved in Covax. “At least half of them do not have sufficient vaccines to be able to sustain their programmes right now”, Dr Aylward said.
“If we look at what we’re hearing from countries on a day-to-day basis. Well over half of countries have run out of stock and are calling for the additional vaccine. But in reality, it’s probably much higher,” Dr. Aylward said. He said some countries had tried to make alternative arrangements to end shortages. With harsh consequences, such as paying above market value for vaccines.
Covid Vaccine and Suppliers Strain
As vaccine supplies come under strain, some wealthier countries with spare doses are leading efforts to step up donations through Covax and other means.
On Monday the administration of US President Joe Biden announced how it planned to donate 55 million vaccine doses to countries in need. Of those, 41 million would be distributed through Covax. With the remaining 14 million shared with countries deemed to be priorities.
These vaccines are not included in the 500 million doses President Biden said the US would donate via Covax. President Biden made that pledge earlier this month at a summit of major economic powers, known as the G7 (Group of Seven).
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