The Covid pandemic will “last a year longer than necessary” because poorer countries are not getting the vaccines they need, says the World Health Organization (WHO).
Dr. Bruce Aylward, Senior Leader at WHO, said this means that the Covid crisis could “easily drag on well into 2022”.
Less than 5% of the population in Africa is vaccinated, compared to 40% in most other continents.
The UK has delivered more than 10 million vaccines to countries in need.
It has pledged a total of 100 million.
More than 50 countries are missing the Covid vaccine target
Covax: How many Covid vaccines have the USA and the other G7 countries promised?
Covid vaccines: how fast is it going worldwide?
Covax’s original idea was that all countries, including wealthy ones, could get vaccines from its pool. But most of the G7 countries decided to hold back once they started doing their own one-on-one deals with pharmaceutical companies.
The vast majority of Covid vaccines have been used in high- or middle-income countries overall. Africa accounts for only 2.6% of the doses administered worldwide.
The charity group, which includes Oxfam and UNAids, also criticized Canada and the UK for sourcing vaccines for their own people through Covax, the UN-sponsored global program for the fair distribution of vaccines.
Official figures show the UK received 539,370 Pfizer doses earlier this year, while Canada took just under a million AstraZeneca doses.
Dr. Aylward appealed to wealthy countries to give up their spots in the queue for vaccines so that drug companies can prioritize the lowest-income countries instead.
He said wealthy countries would have to start making donation pledges at summits like the G7 meeting in St.
“I can tell you that we are not on the right track,” he said. “We really need to speed it up, or guess what? This pandemic is going to last a year longer than it needs to be.”
The People’s Vaccine – an alliance of charities – has released new figures suggesting that only one in seven of the doses promised by drug companies and wealthy countries reach their destination in poorer countries.
Oxfam Global Health Advisor Rohit Malpani acknowledged that Canada and the UK were technically eligible to receive vaccines this way after paying into the Covax Mechanism, but said it was still “morally indefensible” since they both go through millions of doses. would have received their own bilateral agreements.
“You shouldn’t have got those cans from Covax,” he said. “It’s nothing like double-dipping, and it means that poorer countries that are already at the end of the line will have to wait longer.”
The UK government pointed out that it was one of the countries that Covax “kicked off” with a £ 548 million donation last year.
The Canadian government emphasized that it had now stopped using Covax vaccines.
The country’s minister for international development, Karina Gould, said: “As soon as it became clear that the supply guaranteed by our bilateral agreements would be sufficient for the Canadian people, we moved the doses that we had obtained from Covax back to Covax they could be redistributed to developing countries. “
Covax’s original goal was to ship two billion doses of vaccine by the end of this year, but 371 million doses have been shipped to date.