Even with boosters, however, the United States, Britain, European countries and others could meet their own needs and still have around 1.2 billion excess doses by the end of the year. The United States, for its part, has donated or pledged about 600 million doses to other countries, which the Biden administration is quick to point out exceeds the commitment of any other country. But only 115 million of those doses were actually given, or roughly 1% of the 11 billion doses the world needs.
“We welcome doing the bare minimum and doing more than any other country, but that’s not a good rating,” Matthew Rose, head of US policy at the Health Global Access Project, told the Washington Post. “If everyone fails, then we all fail together. We are just the head of the failing people.
Covax also suffered from administrative and logistical problems. In Chad, for example, the program delivered 100,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in June, but five weeks later, only 6,000 had been administered. Like many countries, Chad cannot move Pfizer doses outside of major cities due to high storage requirements.
“The accumulation of vaccines illustrates one of the most serious but largely unrecognized problems of the vaccination program as it tries to recover from months of missteps and disappointments: the difficulty of passing doses from airport tarmacs. in people’s arms, “Mueller and Rebecca Robbins reported for The Last Times. month.
It didn’t help that bureaucratic barriers imposed by Covax management delayed the disbursement of $ 220 million for countries to buy freezers. It also didn’t help that the Biden administration was funding his donation of doses by diverting hundreds of millions of dollars pledged for vaccination campaigns in poorer countries. This has left countries with even fewer resources to transport doses to clinics, train people to give injections, and persuade people to get them.
What to watch
To immunize the world’s population quickly, Biden and other leaders in rich countries will need to take these four key steps, argues Seth Berkley, chief executive of the nonprofit that runs Covax:
Honor promises to give doses now: Of the 600 million doses promised to Covax so far, only 100 million have been delivered. More is needed, he said, and soon.
Enforce transparency: Covax has agreements with vaccine manufacturers for more than four billion doses, but it has often faced delays in obtaining them – potentially because manufacturers give preferential treatment to countries that have signed their own agreements.
Make global vaccine access the top priority: Countries with pending orders for doses they don’t need should allow Covax to take their place in the queue.
Provide financial and technical support: Strengthening national health systems in low-income countries to obtain firearms will not only help end the pandemic more quickly, but also leave systems in place that can be used to obtain firearms. guard against future threats to global health.
As the global vaccine supply grows to meet demand over the next few months, Udayakumar, Duke’s doctor, believes step four could prove to be the most difficult. “We are far from having the capacity in most low and middle income countries to be able to scale up immunizations on a large scale,” he said. “This is no excuse to keep the supply on the sidelines, but it should be a sign that we need to do more in terms of capacity building, so that every country is ready to step up immunization as soon as the supply is available. “
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