Rich countries snap up half of Covid-19 vaccine supply

The five leading vaccine candidates in late-stage trials will be able to supply 5.9 billion doses, enough to inoculate about three billion people, the Oxfam report said. Some 51% of those jabs have been snapped up by the wealthy world, including the US, Britain, the EU, Australia, Hong Kong and Macau, Japan, Switzerland and Israel.
The five leading vaccine candidates in late-stage trials will be able to supply 5.9 billion doses, enough to inoculate about three billion people, the Oxfam report said.(Reuters file photo. Representative image)
The five leading vaccine candidates in late-stage trials will be able to supply 5.9 billion doses, enough to inoculate about three billion people, the Oxfam report said.(Reuters file photo. Representative image)
Published on Sep 18, 2020 05:55 AM IST
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Washington/ Geneva | ByAgencies

Rich nations representing a fraction of the global population have already bought up more than half the stock of promised Covid-19 vaccines, a study showed, as US President Donald Trump pledged to begin inoculating Americans within weeks.

Big pharma is racing to produce an effective jab to counter the coronavirus that has now killed more than 942,000 people around the world and infected almost 30 million.

A study released by Oxfam showed a group of wealthy countries representing just 13% of the world population has secured the lion’s share of doses.

“Access to a life-saving vaccine shouldn’t depend on where you live or how much money you have,” said Robert Silverman of Oxfam America. “Covid-19 anywhere is Covid-19 everywhere.”

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The five leading vaccine candidates in late-stage trials will be able to supply 5.9 billion doses, enough to inoculate about three billion people, the Oxfam report said. Some 51% of those jabs have been snapped up by the wealthy world, including the US, Britain, the EU, Australia, Hong Kong and Macau, Japan, Switzerland and Israel.

The remaining 2.6bn have been bought by or promised to developing countries including India, Bangladesh, China, Brazil, Indonesia and Mexico.

Trump on Wednesday said he would begin rolling out a vaccine in America as soon as next month. “We’re very close to that vaccine... We think we can start sometime in October” or shortly thereafter, Trump said.

Over 170 nations join global vaccine plan

The World Health Organization (WHO) said more than 170 countries have joined its global plan to distribute vaccines fairly around the world, but cautioned that a race to develop shots could lead to fears about safety.

“We already face challenges with vaccine acceptance for many proven vaccines,” WHO chief Tedros Ghebreyesus said. “We cannot risk having an effective vaccine for Covid-19 that people refuse because of the perception that it is unsafe.”

Also read: Safety first, cautions WHO as 172 nations join Covid-19 vaccine distribution plan

The European head of the WHO has warned of “alarming rates of transmission” of the virus in the continent. Hans Kluge said the largest proportion remains among adults aged 25 to 49, but pointed to increases in cases in older age groups as well.

Red Cross: Migrants in Asia facing blame

The Red Cross warned that the pandemic is driving discrimination towards vulnerable communities in Asia, especially migrants and foreigners. The humanitarian agency surveyed 5,000 people in Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Pakistan and found about half blamed a specific group for spreading the coronavirus, with many mentioning Chinese people, immigrants and foreigners.

Meanwhile, New Zealand’s economy shrank by a record 12.2% in the second quarter due to a strict coronavirus lockdown.

Statistics New Zealand released figures on Thursday that showed GDP fell far more than previously recorded and signalled that the nation of 5mn is officially in recession for the first time in 11 years.

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