BIDEN, G7 UNDER PRESSURE TO SHARE VACCINES WITH POOR NATIONS
US President Joe Biden is under pressure to junk the “vaccine nationalism” of the Trump administration and share a huge stockpile of COVID-19 vaccines with poor countries, Mike Ludwig reported for Truthout.
The Trump administration funneled billions of public dollars to private pharmaceutical companies to develop a vaccine and then bought vaccine doses to distribute only within its borders.
Trump also shunned various international pandemic agreements and attempted to withdraw the US from the World Health Organization (WHO), a move quickly reversed by Biden, who has pledged to restore U.S. leadership on the global stage. Just 10 countries had administered 75 percent of vaccine doses, while 130 poor countries had yet to receive a single dose.
Other wealthy nations have also rushed toward vaccinating as many of their own people as possible by pre-ordering billions of doses as vaccines are developed.
On Wednesday, United Nations Secretary General António Guterres warned that global vaccine development has been “wildly uneven and unfair,” and just 10 countries had administered 75 percent of vaccine doses, while 130 poor countries had yet to receive a single dose.
Currently, wealthy nations and the European Union have pre-ordered 4.6 billion vaccine doses – more than half of the 8.2 billion doses currently reserved globally, according to the Duke Global Health Innovation Center. Another 4.7 billion doses are under negotiation or reserved as optional expansions of additional deals between wealthy nations and manufacturers.
In contrast, the world’s poorest nations have pre-ordered about 670 million doses. COVAX, an international private-public fund for providing vaccines to the developing world, has reserved another 1.1 billion doses, a number that proponents of the World Trade Organization (WTO) patent waiver say is vastly insufficient.
Under current projections, there will not be enough doses to cover the world’s population until 2023 or 2024 unless global trade policies change and production is increased. Meanwhile, Canada and some other wealthy nations have reserved enough doses to vaccinate their population several times over.