According to a study published in the journal Nature, Just 10 countries account for three quarters of the 191 million COVID-19 vaccinations.
The study has confirmed that the race to vaccinate the world is hardly on even footing.
Dr. Gavin Yamey, a professor of the practice of global health and director of the Center for Policy Impact in Global Health at Duke, has offered the warning in a commentary published in the journal Nature. in which he urges wealthy nations to donate portions of the vaccines they have purchased to low- and middle-income countries that have been priced out of acquiring doses.
“If the rich world continues to hoard vaccines, the pandemic will drag on for perhaps as long as seven more years,” he says.
“There’s a mantra in global health that an outbreak anywhere could lead to an outbreak everywhere, and that’s why it’s in our interest collectively as an international community to start sharing doses (and) to make sure we expand the global vaccine supply,” Yamey said during a media briefing.
In order to dissuade rich countries from vaccine hoarding, global health organizations are encouraging countries to purchase vaccines through COVAX.
COVAX is a global alliance established to share vaccine doses with poorer countries. Nearly 190 countries have already joined COVAX. However, three dozen high-income countries also negotiated direct deals with vaccine manufacturers to secure doses for their own citizens.
Few rich countries representing just 16 percent of the world’s population have snapped up more than half of the available COVID-19 vaccines. While COVAX expects to purchase around 2 billion doses by the end of 2021, that’s only enough to vaccinate about 20 percent of people in low- and middle-income countries.
“What I find disturbing is that I am likely to be offered vaccination ahead of a health worker or high-risk person in a low-income country or middle-income country. And that’s not right, that’s not fair,” Yamey said.