Wealthy Countries are Hogging Vaccine Supply Leaving Developing Nations in Danger
By: Nina Zevgolis
As countries such as Canada, the United States, and the UK approve Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, the yearning for COVID-19’s retirement seems to be on its path. Sadly, seeing that richer countries are stocking up on supplies for vaccinations, developing nations are being left behind. There are now 92 developing countries abandoned with no solution or vaccination for months or possibly years.
On December third, the United Kingdom approved the Pfizer vaccine, rolling out vaccinations in mass amounts to secure the population’s needs for dosages. Not far behind, Canada and the United States approved their vaccination and began mass-producing and exporting to pharmacies. Countries with populations of between 35 to 65 million people began purchasing and hoarding doses enough to circulate around their population five to ten times around.
These numbers may seem positive for the richer nations, but for the 92 developing nations of 3.6 billion people, they have only been able to get a hold of 700 million doses. This means that regions that are taking over two billion doses for populations of only 450 million are leaving half of the world in distress. Japan, the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia have already taken 53% of the vaccine supply before the doses have even been mass distributed. The United States is now hoarding doses and supplies for over three times its population, a country that holds 328.2 million.
While there have only been a few hundred million vaccines produced, rich countries have pre-booked billions of stock to protect their people. Policy analysts have reported that it is very unlikely the vaccines will make it to low and middle-income countries by the end of 2021, especially in any significant numbers of mass doses.
Without a vaccine in every country, the COVID-19 pandemic will remain eternal, and the more it stays untouched, the more it will mutate. Leaving half the world’s population behind without giving them antibodies is only inviting the COVID-19 pandemic to stay for longer and mature at exponential rates. What the world needs now is countries to share research, formulas, and not just endorsements. If the world wants to get over this virus, then we must act together to help resolve this catastrophic situation.
Developing countries like India are turning to Oxford’s vaccines to mass-produce at a lower price to make it more affordable for everyone. Fortunately, Oxford has created a vaccine with minimal supplies that would cost 4 dollars per person compared to Pfizer’s vaccine that costs 20 dollars per dose. India is now under the pressure to manufacture Oxford’s vaccine for half of the world’s population to secure and help the 92 poorer nations.
The 700 million vaccinations for the developing nations have been thanks to an organization called COVAX, led by the vaccine alliance of GAVI. The organization is a global accelerator collaborating that has facilitated the development, production, and fair access to this pandemic’s tests, treatments, and vaccines. While the organization is being shared with 17 countries’ funding, none have come forward to share their research or stocks, leaving poorer nations in Asia and Africa left to fend for themselves and distribute 700 million vaccines as equally possible with 3.6 billion people.
The World’s Health Organization has been raising funds for the least developed nations to buy tests and vaccines, a project called “Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator”. Unfortunately, the institution demands $38 billion, but the project rests short by $28.2 billion.
If the funds are not met and wealthy countries cannot share research and equipment with the developing, the pandemic will live on in the world’s poorest countries forever. Without protection for the nation’s citizens and enough vaccines for everyone on this planet, the invitation for a new, harsher, and more evolved pandemic lies in our hands.
*All arguments made and viewpoints expressed within Youth In Politics and its nominal entities do not necessarily reflect the views of the writers or the organization as a whole.
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