The People’s Vaccine Alliance, a coalition of international non-governmental organisations, claims some wealthy countries are hoarding the COVID -19 vaccines.
It further warned that a number of poor countries may not be able to get the vaccines even up till 2024 as a result of this unhealthy development.
What they are saying
According to People’s Vaccine Alliance, comprising of human rights watchdog, Amnesty International;
- “Rich countries such as Canada, the United States (U.S.), and the United Kingdom (UK) are hoarding far more doses than they needed.
- “Pharmaceutical companies working on COVID-19 vaccines should openly share their formulae through the World Health Organisation (WHO) for more doses to be produced for the benefits of the poor countries.”
According to Ms Andrea Taylor, a Director at the Duke Global Health Innovation Centre in North Carolina, U.S, said:
- “Many people in poor countries may have to wait until 2023 or 2024 for vaccination as a result of the selfish attitude of the rich countries.”
An Advisor of the Alliance, Mohga Kamal-Yanni, said:
- “Rich countries are home to 14 per cent of the world’s population, but have already pre-ordered 53% of most-promising vaccine stocks as of November. Other countries involved include Japan, the European Union, Switzerland, Australia, Hong Kong, Macau, New Zealand, Israel, and Kuwait.”
- “Rich countries have enough doses to vaccinate everyone nearly three times over, while poor countries don’t have enough to even reach health workers and people at risk. The current system, where pharmaceutical corporations use government funding for research, retain exclusive rights and keep their technology secret to boost profits, could cost many lives.”
According to Ms Andrea Taylor, a Director at the Duke Global Health Innovation Centre in North Carolina, U.S., She identified Canada as the biggest hoarder and said:
- “The North American country has secured 8.9 doses per head, the equivalent of enough vaccines to vaccinate each citizen five times over. Canada has done exactly what we would expect a high-income country to do, and they’ve done the right thing by their country.”
- “U.S. is the second biggest hoarder with 7.3 doses per head, enough to vaccinate every American nearly four times.”
- “The UK is third with 5.7 doses per head, which is enough to vaccinate everyone in the country almost three times.”
What this means
The hoarding of the COVID-19 vaccines by some wealthy countries throws up bigger challenges for the poor countries contending with the pandemic – implying that the end of the pandemic is not near.
According to Steve Cockburn, Amnesty International’s Head of Economic and Social Justice, “By buying up the vast majority of the world’s vaccine supply, rich countries are in breach of their human rights obligations.”