Global COVID vaccine supply crunch? Wealthy developed countries snap up two years of supplies, hardening rich-poor divide

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Credit: Politico
Credit: Politico

The European Union, Canada and other developed countries have signed deals to get hundreds of millions of doses of Covid-19 vaccines and boosters over the next two years.

Yet the deals once again leave out developing countries, many of which have fallen behind in vaccinating residents and struggled to contain the spread of the virus.

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Many developing nations are still negotiating with Pfizer and Moderna, according to the companies. They also are waiting on doses from Covax and appealing to the U.S. government to provide excess doses.

Related article:  Scientifically questionable 10-day pause of J&J vaccine has deepened hesitancy

Covax has been beset by manufacturing and delivery delays.

To access more doses, some developing countries have asked the World Trade Organization to waive patent protection for Covid-19 vaccines. The U.S. said it supports the move, though Germany and some other developed countries have opposed it. The drug industry is lobbying against the proposal, saying waiving patent protection wouldn’t provide relief any time soon while straining raw material supplies.

Public-health and vaccine experts say developing countries need more supplies to vaccinate residents to contain the spread of the virus and protect against dangerous new variants that emerge.

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