As wealthier countries prepare for mass COVID vaccine rollouts, 70 poorer countries must beg for shots

Credit: Nicolás Ortega
Credit: Nicolás Ortega

The [People’s Vaccine Alliance] says that nearly 70 poor countries will only be able to vaccinate one in 10 people against COVID-19 next year unless urgent action is taken by governments and the pharmaceutical industry to make sure enough doses are produced. By contrast, wealthier nations have bought up enough doses to vaccinate their entire populations nearly three times over by the end of 2021 if those currently in clinical trials are all approved for use. Canada tops the chart with enough vaccines to vaccinate each Canadian five times, the alliance highlights.

The organisations in the alliance, including Amnesty International, Frontline AIDS, Global Justice Now and Oxfam, used data collected by science information and analytics company Airfinity to analyse the deals done between countries and the eight leading vaccine candidates. They found that 67 low and lower middle-income countries risk being left behind. Five of the 67 – Kenya, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan and Ukraine – have reported over 1.5 million cases between them.

“No one should be blocked from getting a life-saving vaccine because of the country they live in or the amount of money in their pocket. But unless something changes dramatically, billions of people around the world will not receive a safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19 for years to come,” said Anna Marriott, Oxfam’s health policy Manager.

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