LONDON (AP) – Nearly 60 countries, including some of the world’s poorest, could be shut down during the first round of their coronavirus vaccines, as almost all deliveries through the global program to help them are blocked until the end of June.
COVAX, a global initiative to provide vaccines to countries that do not have the power to negotiate low supplies, delivered more than 25,000 doses to low-income countries only twice last week. Deliveries have been suspended since Monday.
Over the past two weeks, according to data collected daily by UNICEF, a total of less than 2 million COVAX doses have been cleared for delivery to 92 developing countries, with the same amount injected in the UK alone.
The head of the World Health Organization on Friday criticized the “shocking imbalance” of the COVID-19 global vaccine. WHO Director-General Tedros Adanom Hebreus said that although one in four people in rich countries had been vaccinated, only one in 500 in poorer countries had received the dose.
The shortage of the vaccine stems largely from India’s decision to stop exporting the vaccine from the Serum Institute plant, which produces the vast majority of doses of AstraZeneca that COVAX hoped to supply to a third of the world’s population as the coronavirus spreads around the world.
COVAX will only deliver vaccines cleared by the WHO, Countries are becoming more and more patient. Suppliers are shrinking slightly from the first countries to receive COVAX deliveries, and the expected delivery of second doses in the currently offered 12-week window is now in doubt. The vaccine alliance, known as GAVI, told the Associated Press in a statement that 60 countries were suffering from delays.
Many of those who arrived for their first strikes in the vaccination tents at Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi were worried about when the second one would arrive.
“My fear is that if I do not take the second dose, my immune system will be weak, so I may die,” said Oscar Odinga, a civil servant.
WTO internal documents obtained by the WTO show uncertainty about deliveries “some countries are losing faith in COVAX (efforts)”. This prompts the WHO to consider speeding up the introduction of vaccines from China and Russia that are not authorized by any regulator in Europe or North America.
The WHO documents show that the UN agency is facing questions about the distribution of COVAX participants, except for “uncertainty as to whether all those vaccinated in the first phase are guaranteed a second dose”.
The WHO declined to comment specifically on domestic issues, but had previously said that countries “very much want” to receive the vaccine as soon as possible, and said it had not heard any complaints in the process.
Concerns about the AstraZeneca’s “rare blood tissue connection” shooting have also “created anxiety about both its safety and effectiveness,” the WHO said in a statement. Among his proposed solutions is the decision to “speed up the review of additional goods” from China and Russia.
The WHO announced last month that it was possible to put Chinese vaccines under the green light by the end of April.
Some experts say that Sinopharm և Sinovac, two Chinese-made vaccines, have no published data, there is information that people need to protect against the third dose.
“If there’s anything we miss about not carefully assessing the risks of serious adverse events from these vaccines, it will undermine the confidence we use in all the good products we know are safe,” said Dora Carey, Director on health justice պաշտպանության protection of rights at CARE International.
Other experts worried that delays could undermine confidence in governments that were particularly effective in their vaccination programs, which were soon counting on second doses.
“In the absence of high vaccination coverage worldwide, we risk prolonging the epidemic for several years,” said Lavanya Vasudjan, an associate professor at the University of Davan’s Global Health Institute. “Every day the virus circulates an opportunity for him to turn into a more deadly version.”
Earlier this month, the WHO called on rich countries to distribute 10 million doses immediately to achieve the UN goal of launching COVID-19 vaccines in each country in the first 100 days of the year. So far, countries have pledged hundreds of millions of dollars to COVAX. There are simply no quotas to buy, no country has agreed to share what it has immediately.
Bilateral dose donations generally go along political lines rather than countries with more infections; they are not enough to meet COVAX’s goals. Think Global Health, a data-driven website of the Council on Foreign Relations, identified 19 countries that donated a total of 27.5 million doses to 102 countries as of Thursday.
“You can argue that it is better for us to donate in a crisis to control the epidemic than to vaccinate low-risk groups at home,” said Thomas Ball, director of the Council on Foreign Relations’ World Health Program. Bollick said COVAX was both a 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 many countries affected by the crisis. 322% in Kenya, 379% in Yemen and 529% in northeastern Syria.
On Thursday, agencies based on COVAX, the WHO vaccine alliance GAVI և CEPI, an epidemic preparedness coalition, announced the delivery of 38 million rescue vaccines to more than 100 countries.
North American University vaccine expert Brooke Baker says the praise is irrelevant.
“Setting enough doses for just 19 million people, or 0.25% of the world’s population, is deafening,” he said, adding that it was time for the WTO և partners to be more honest with countries.
“The WHO և GAVI has repeatedly preferred low delivery. Why should we believe that they will suddenly be able to increase production and supplies in a few months?” he said.
On Thursday, Duncan Newcuri, an infectious disease specialist outside the vaccination tent in Nairobi, tried to reassure people receiving their first dose.
“If you take the first dose, you can not get the second dose, it does not mean that your body will be weaker or you will be at greater risk of getting any infection,” he said. “It means that your body will develop some immunity against coronavirus infection. But this immunity is not as good as the one who received both doses. ”
Hinnat reported from Paris. Khaled Kazziha, based in Nairobi, Keia, made his contribution.
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