The US is expected to have 300 million or more coronavirus vaccine excess doses by the end of July, raising concerns on uneven global distribution of Covid vaccines, according to a new research.
The research from the Duke Global Health Innovation Centre showed that the US government has entered into advance purchase agreements and provided financial support and/or assistance to rapidly scale the vaccine manufacturing capacity for vaccines produced by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, and NovaVax.
Moreover, a small number of high- and middle-income nations and regions including the US, UK, European Union (EU), China, and India account for the majority of Covid vaccines administered thus far.
“While confirmed purchases of vaccines globally cover 8.6 billion doses, four of the world’s high-income countries, with a population of 1.2 billion (16 per cent of global population), account for 4.6 billion doses (53 per cent of all purchased doses),” the researchers said.
On the other hand, the low-income countries hold just 770 million doses.
Given the current pace of vaccinations, 92 of the world’s poorest countries may not reach even 60 per cent coverage until 2023 or later, the study showed.
“High-income countries, especially in Europe, are facing demand that exceeds supply for vaccines right now, as well as serious ongoing outbreaks,” the US news quoted the researchers as saying.
“But that will change in the coming weeks to months, as their advance purchase contracts are fulfilled,” they added
The researchers called on the US to make a plan for the surplus doses as soon as possible and help distribute the coronavirus vaccines in an equitable way.
“The pandemic will not end anywhere until it ends everywhere. It is in the US interest to proactively and urgently address Covid-19 vaccine inequity,” the researchers said.
“Furthermore, vocal US leadership on the global stage is imperative for a more effective and coordinated global response using rigorously monitored and highly effective vaccines, at a time when nations such as China and Russia are attempting to gain influence through vaccine diplomacy,” they noted.