The People’s Vaccine Alliance says just 14% of the world’s population has bought 53% of the most promising vaccines
There are fears that some of the poorer countries in the world could be left behind as richer nations “hoard” more doses of the COVID-19 vaccines than they actually need.
Wealthy countries across the globe have amassed a big enough stock of coronavirus vaccine doses to immunise their population nearly three times over by the end of 2021, assuming that the vaccines currently in clinical trials will all be approved for use.
These new findings come from the People’s Vaccine Alliance, a group that includes both Oxfam, as well as Amnesty International, and which has analysed deals that have been made between countries and the current eight leading COVID-19 vaccine candidates.
This comes after a 90-year-old grandmother-of-four became the first patient in the world to receive Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccination outside of a trial. Mrs Keenan, who lives in Coventry but is originally from Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, was given the vaccine by nurse May Parsons at Coventry’s University Hospital.
The group found that all doses of the Moderna vaccine have been bought up by the world’s richest countries, with the same happening to 96% of the Pfizer/BioNtech doses.
Just 14% of the world’s population has now purchased 53% of the most promising COVID-19 vaccines, with Canada singled out as having bought enough doses to vaccinate every member of the Canadian public five times over.
Five of the countries across the globe that are most likely to be left behind will be Kenya, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan and Ukraine, which have reported a combined 1.5 million cases of COVID-19 in total.
The head of economic and social justice for Amnesty International, Stephen Cockburn, said:
“The hoarding of vaccines actively undermines global efforts to ensure that everyone, everywhere can be protected from COVID-19.”
“Rich countries have clear human rights obligations not only to refrain from actions that could harm access to vaccines elsewhere but also to cooperate and provide assistance to countries that need it.”
This comes after age was announced to be the single most important factor for who receives the vaccine first, and everyone older than 50 will get the Pfizer vaccine by the time the end of phase one. Residents of care homes in the country, as well as their carers will be first in the nation to receive the Pfizer vaccine against the coronavirus in the UK.
Anna Marriott, Oxfam’s health policy manager, said: “No one should be blocked from getting a life-saving vaccine because of the country they live in or the amount of money in their pocket.”
“But unless something changes dramatically, billions of people around the world will not receive a safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19 for years to come.”
Labour’s shadow international development secretary, Preet Kaur Gill, said: “UK taxpayers deserve to know that the money being spent on their behalf is guaranteed to bring about genuinely equitable access across the world to make us safer as soon as possible.”