Vaccine shortages have hit poor countries


London (AFP) – Up to 60 countries, including some of the world’s poorest, may be stopped at the first shots of the coronavirus vaccination because nearly all deliveries through the global program aimed at helping them are banned until late June.

COVAX, the global vaccine initiative for countries lacking the leverage to negotiate scarce supplies on their own, last week shipped more than 25,000 doses to low-income countries just twice on any given day. Deliveries have nearly stopped since Monday.

During the past two weeks, According to data that UNICEF collects dailyIn total, fewer than 2 million doses of COVAX were disposed of for shipment to 92 countries in the developing world – the same amount that was injected in Britain alone.

On Friday, the head of the World Health Organization criticized the “startling imbalance” in the global vaccination against the Coronavirus. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that while one in four people in rich countries received a vaccine, only one in 500 people in poor countries had received a dose.

Vaccine deficiency stems mostly from India’s decision To stop the export of vaccines from its Serum Institute plant, which produces the vast majority of AstraZeneca doses that COVAX relies on to supply about a third of the world’s population at one time Coronavirus is on the rise worldwide.

COVAX will only ship vaccines approved by the World Health Organization, and countries are increasingly losing patience. Supplies are dwindling in some of the first countries to receive COVAX shipments, and the expected delivery of the second doses in the currently recommended 12-week window is in doubt. In a statement, the Vaccine Alliance, known as GAVI, told the Associated Press that 60 countries were affected by the delays.

In vaccination tents set up at the Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi, many of those who arrived to receive the first vaccinations were uneasy about when the second would arrive.

“My fear is if I don’t get the second dose,” said government employee Oscar Odinga, “my immune system will become weak, and so I might die.”

Internal WHO documents obtained by the AP show that uncertainty about deliveries “is causing some countries to lose confidence in COVAX (the effort)”. This leads the World Health Organization to consider expediting its approval of vaccines from China and Russia, which have not been authorized by any regulators in Europe or North America.

WHO documents show that the UN agency faces questions from COVAX participants about allocations as well as “uncertainty about whether all those vaccinated in the first round were given a second dose”.

The World Health Organization refused to specifically respond to the issues raised in the internal materials but previously said that countries were “very keen” to get vaccinations as soon as possible and insisted that they had not heard any complaints about this process.

Concern about the link between AstraZeneca and Rare Blood Clots The World Health Organization has also indicated its “tension about its safety and efficacy.” Among the proposed solutions is a decision to “accelerate review of additional products” by China and Russia.

The World Health Organization said last month that it may be possible to give the green light to Chinese vaccines by the end of April.

Some experts note that the Chinese-made Sinopharma and Sinovac vaccines lack published data, and there are reports of people needing a third dose for protection.

Dora Curry, the director, said: “If there’s something we’re missing about not having a thorough assessment of the risk of serious adverse events from these vaccines, that would undermine confidence in all the good products we use that we know are safe.” Equality and health rights at CARE International.

Other experts expressed concern that the delay could undermine confidence in governments that were particularly effective in their own Vaccination programs And they had second doses soon.

“In the absence of high vaccination coverage globally, we risk taking the epidemic out for several more years,” said Lavania Vasudevan, assistant professor at the Institute of Global Health at Duke University. “Every day the virus spreads is an opportunity for it to mutate into a more deadly type.”

Earlier this month, the World Health Organization appealed to rich countries to urgently share 10 million doses to meet the United Nations’ goal of starting COVID-19 vaccinations in every country within the first 100 days of the year. So far, countries have pledged hundreds of millions of dollars to combat COVAX. But there are simply no doses to buy, and no country has agreed to share what it has right away.

Double dose donations It tends to walk along political lines, Rather than countries with the highest number of infections, which are not nearly enough to offset the targets set by COVAX. Think about global healthThe data website managed by the Council on Foreign Relations identified 19 countries that had donated a total of 27.5 million doses to 102 countries as of Thursday.

“You can make a strong case that it is better for us to donate in case of crisis and control the epidemic than to vaccinate low-risk groups at home,” said Thomas Pollecky, director of the global health program at the Council on Foreign Relations. Pollecki said COVAX was a huge disappointment and the only option available to most of the world.

According to the International Rescue Committee, COVID-19 cases and deaths increased last month in several countries affected by the crisis: by 322% in Kenya, 379% in Yemen, and 529% in northeastern Syria.

On Thursday, the agencies behind COVAX – the World Health Organization, the GAVI Vaccine Alliance and CEPI, an alliance of pandemic preparedness – celebrated the delivery of 38 million life-saving vaccines to more than 100 countries.

Brooke Baker, a vaccination expert at Northeastern University, said the letter of praise was misplaced.

“Celebrating with doses sufficient for only 19 million people, or 0.25% of the world’s population, sets the tone,” he said, adding that it was time for WHO and its partners to be more honest with countries.

“The World Health Organization and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization have repeatedly made excessive promises and non-deliveries, so why do we think they will suddenly be able to increase production and delivery in two months?” He said.

Outside the vaccination tents in Nairobi on Thursday, Dr. Duncan Newkori, an infectious disease physician, tried to reassure people that they would get their first dose.

He said: “If you received the first dose and failed to receive the second dose, it does not mean that your body will be weaker or that you will be at increased risk of developing any infection.” The body will have developed some immunity against the Coronavirus infection. But this immunity is not as good as anyone who received both doses. “


Hinnant reported from Paris. Khaled Azziha contributed to Nairobi, Kenya.


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