However, the scarcity of supplies remains an obstacle. “If we had more doses, we could make them available,” Seth Berkley told CBS News. Gavi’s executive director added that the WHO program has already ordered more than two billion vaccines, but most are only available in the second half of 2021.
The delay is largely justified by “vaccine nationalism”, which means that fewer doses are available to nations with lower incomes. “The big challenge here is that of the inequality we are talking about between developed and developing countries”, underlined Berkley.
“We are only safe if everyone is safe”, a situation that is aggravated by the appearance of new strains of the coronavirus. “If we have large unvaccinated populations, then there is a risk of seeing new variants appear that will continue to spread throughout the world”, added the epidemiologist.
Gavi’s manager places some hope in the large vaccine production factories. Once the needs of the United States were met at the end of this year, for example, these factories “could really be used to go online for the rest of the world, which could help stop the pandemic,” he said.
Two different rhythms
The pandemic and the launch of vaccination campaigns against covid-19 have exacerbated some inequalities between countries. On the one hand, there are nations and blocs, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel and the European Union (EU), which are advancing rapidly in immunizing their populations. On the other hand, at the opposite end, more than 30 countries have not yet started or have barely begun to vaccinate, including much of the African continent, according to WHO.
In the USA, President Joe Biden ordered, in early March, to make enough doses available to inoculate, with two doses, each American adult twice. In this regard, the EU, Canada and Mexico asked Washington to consider sharing the ordered doses.
India, which is the largest supplier of vaccines to the developing world, recently reduced exports in an attempt to vaccinate its own population more quickly, with the aim of responding to a new wave of outbreaks of the covid-19.
“We had expected, in March and April, about 90 million doses and we suspect that we will receive much, much less than that, and that is a problem,” said Berkeley.
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