/With first dibs on vaccines, rich nations have ‘cleared the shelves’, Health News, ET HealthWorld
With first dibs on vaccines, rich nations have ‘cleared the shelves’

With first dibs on vaccines, rich nations have ‘cleared the shelves’, Health News, ET HealthWorld

As a growing number of vaccines advance through clinical trials, wealthy countries are fuelling an extraordinary gap in access around the world, laying claim to more than half the doses that could come on the market by the end of next year. Many poor nations may be able to vaccinate at most 20% of their populations in 2021. But some of the world’s richest nations have reserved enough doses to immunise their populations multiple times.

With no guarantee that any particular vaccine will come through, these countries have hedged their bets on a number of candidates. But if all the doses they have claimed are fulfilled, the EU could inoculate its residents twice, Britain and the US could do so four times over, and Canada six times over, according to an NYT analysis of data collected by Duke University, Unicef and Airfinity, a science analytics company.

The US has provided billions of dollars to back the research, development and manufacturing of five of the most promising Covid vaccines. But the support came with a condition that Americans would get priority access to doses made in their country.

Other wealthy countries joined the US in placing large orders, often with clauses in their contracts that would allow them to acquire even more if they desired, undermining many other nations’ ability to make timely purchases.

How quickly the wealthy countries will achieve full coverage is uncertain, in large part because the candidates are in varied stages of progress. But the outlook for most of the developing world is dire. Because of manufacturing limits, it could be as late as 2024 before many low-income countries are able to obtain enough vaccines to fully immunise their populations.