COVID-19 vaccine developers who showed promising results for their phase III trial results have said that altogether they can provide enough doses for over one-third of the world's population by the end of 2021, according to Nature.
However, the estimates from the Duke Global Health Innovation Center in Durham, North Carolina suggest that many people in low-income countries might not get the vaccine, not until 2023 or 2024.
COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and Moderna have said that they could produce 5.3 billion doses for 2021 which will cover between 2.6 billion to 3.1 billion people, but that will depend on whether the vaccine by AstraZeneca will be administered in two doses or one and a half.
Aside from those three vaccine developers, the Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow also said that they could cover another 500 million people annually outside of Russia beginning in 2021.
Most of this capacity is already promised to the 27 member states of the European Union, and five other rich countries have pre-ordered about had of the Russian vaccine, which accounts for the 13% of the total global population.
Adding the six other leading COVID-19 vaccine candidates, the total number of doses will rise to 7.4 billion with possible expansion options that could account for another 2.9 billion doses, according to the calculations of Airfinity.
But even with these numbers, the total number of doses secured for the five countries in the EU remains just 50% of their total population because other rich countries have already bought up portfolios of several vaccine candidates early in the pandemic.
Unequitable Distribution of COVID-19 Vaccine
The questions "who will get the vaccine first?" and "how long will people wait to get vaccinated?" have no definitive answers yet, CNet reported. But many people who need immunization against COVID-19 depend on these vaccines.
Based on the deals made with vaccine developers, Canada is the leading country that secured a deal of nearly nine doses per person. According to Andrea Taylor at Duke Global Health, "Canada has done exactly what we would expect a high-income country to do, and they've done the right thing by their country."
However, this also means that COVID-19 vaccines will not be distributed equitably. Taylor added that countries are starting to make deals with the promising results that the vaccine developers are showing which makes everyone feel optimistic. But this is quite scary because it means that there are so many countries missing.
Nature reports that local manufacturing deals are also likely to determine the first shipments of the vaccines. But that leaves dwindling short-term supplies for low- and middle-income countries which most of them seem to be relying mostly on the contributions of COVAX.
It has already secured 700 million doses and wants to provide two billion or about 20% of the population of the 189 countries who have signed up under them, including wealthy economies that have participated to subsidize the access to the vaccines.
In the end, countries with excess vaccine doses might donate their excess vaccines to COVAX even if that is not how the fund was supposed to work and it does not help with equitable distribution.
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