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130 countries have not started vaccination against Covid-19: What are they doing?

Author : Polina Davydova

Source : 112 Ukraine

Nearly 2.5 billion people have yet to receive even a single dose of coronavirus vaccine
09:06, 18 February 2021

Open source

The start of the coronavirus vaccination campaign was postponed for several days due to logistics problems. But Ukraine is not the only such country. Mass vaccination has not yet begun in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea (although it is planned to start in the coming weeks), as well as Moldova, Uzbekistan, and others.

In total, according to UNICEF information released in the latest statement, residents of 130 countries have not yet had the opportunity to receive even one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. That's 2.5 billion people. So, 75% of vaccinations are made in just 10 countries, which account for 60% of world GDP.

This trend is consistent with the "rich and poor" pattern, the BBC reports. For example, the United Kingdom and the United States are well supplied with vaccines because they can afford to invest in vaccine development and rank first. Other wealthy countries like Canada and the EU bloc are lagging a bit behind.

Earlier, we told "success stories" of countries that have already vaccinated doctors and are moving on to the next stages. Now let's look at countries that have not yet launched a vaccination campaign and what methods they are using.

Moldova

Moldova has not yet received a single vaccine against coronavirus, because it does not have the funds to purchase vaccines. In the world media, Moldova is called "the poorest country in Europe". The first batch of vaccines is due by the end of February, but the schedule is uncertain.

In Moldova, with a population of 2.6 million people, more than 157 000 official cases of Covid-19 and more than 3600 deaths have been registered. The real number of infections is likely higher, as the government only tested 1,000 to 3,000 people daily, reaching 58% of positive tests in December. People with mild symptoms are often denied testing. First-line doctors are the only doctors tested.

Newly elected President Maia Sandu, with a pro-European stance, received promises from Western partners, including a donation of 200,000 doses of vaccine from Romania and a € 15 million grant from the EU. But since then, the executive branch has resigned, and the parliamentary majority has not yet been formed.

Moldova is counting on the EU to solve the vaccine supply problem, Sandu said in an interview with France 24.

"It is difficult for a small country like Moldova to attract the attention of manufacturers. They are usually interested in bigger contracts, so they talk with big countries. That is why we really need the support of the EU countries," Sandu says.

Caucasus: Georgia and Armenia

The vaccination campaign in Georgia should start at the end of February. Tbilisi plans to start vaccination with drugs produced by BioNTech / Pfizer and AstraZeneca. The Georgian authorities do not plan to purchase the Russian Sputnik V vaccine against Covid-19.

Preparations for the implementation of the vaccination program continue. According to the Deputy Minister of Health Tamar Gabunia, training of medical personnel are being conducted now.

Georgia is to receive 400,000 doses of the vaccine under COVAX, and the remaining 2.5 million doses will be obtained through other mechanisms (through negotiations with the EU and vaccine manufacturers). The total population of Georgia is 3.7 million people.

"The first quarter is the most difficult for everyone, then production volumes will increase, and in the third and fourth quarters the chances of getting vaccines directly from manufacturers will be higher," Tamar Gabunia said.

It is planned that first, by the end of February, Georgia will receive up to 30,000 doses of Pfizer, which will vaccinate health workers. In addition, about 200,000 doses of AstraZeneca are expected from the Covax platform for high-risk groups and healthcare workers, most likely in the first half of March.

Armenia also has not yet begun mass vaccination of the population and is negotiating with all possible vaccine suppliers.

Related: Stoltenberg suggests updating NATO strategic concept with emphasis on protection from Russia, China

Last year, the country joined the international COVAX initiative. As part of the initiative, the republic may be offered Pfizer / BioNtech and Moderna vaccines.

Also on February 2, Armenia approved the use of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine. The Russian vaccine may be the first to enter the country, and mass vaccination may start in early March, the Ministry of Health of Armenia reported. The first to be vaccinated will be medical staff and social workers, people over 65, and patients with chronic diseases.

Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan is negotiating with 12 manufacturers of vaccines against coronavirus. Around 2.5 million AstraZeneca vaccines will be delivered to the country. The first batch of 800,000 doses will arrive in March, and vaccinations will begin at the same time.

In July, after the completion of the third phase of clinical trials in Uzbekistan, it is planned to purchase a vaccine from the Chinese company Ayhui Zhifei Longcom Biopharmaceutical. Its production will be established in the country.

Also, the Uzbek authorities decided to certify the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, the process can be completed by mid-March.

Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan is remembered for the curious incident with the vaccine: there the government refused more than a million free doses of Pfizer vaccine, as it did not find two million dollars for refrigerators for storage.

The vaccination campaign will start no earlier than June and will be held in three stages. Currently, several sources of vaccine supply are known. So, under COVAX, the country requested the AstraZeneca vaccine and will receive 504,000 doses in March.

The government of Kyrgyzstan is considering the use of vaccines produced in Russia and China.

Mongolia

In Mongolia, it is planned to start vaccination of the population from 23 February. At the first stage, the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines will be used, firstly Mongolia will receive 300,000 doses of vaccines.

Reuters

The Russian Sputnik V and the Chinese vaccine Sinopharm will also be used. In total, 60% of Mongolians are planning to be vaccinated of which 20% - under the COVAX program.

Afghanistan

Here a paradox occurred: on February 7, the first batch of 500,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine from India was delivered to the country under the COVAX program, Reuters reports.

But the start of vaccination was postponed, and the vaccine lay in warehouses in Kabul due to the lack of permission for its emergency use from the World Health Organization (WHO). Just yesterday, 15 February, WHO granted such permission.

The first to be vaccinated are doctors, security personnel, teachers, and officials. In the near future, Afghanistan will receive another 200,000 doses of vaccine from China. As part of the COVAX mechanism, Afghanistan expects vaccines for 20% of the country's population (a total of 38 million people).

Japan

Of all the advanced economies in the world, Japan is the last to embark on an immunization campaign. Only on February 14, the Ministry of Health authorized the use of vaccines by Pfizer, the country received 400,000 doses.

The start of vaccination is scheduled for Wednesday, February 17, but the country fears that a shortage of special syringes could lead to the loss of millions of doses reports Reuters. The government has made urgent requests, but manufacturers are struggling to ramp up production and do not guarantee it.

The first to receive the vaccine will be 20,000 doctors and nurses, from March it will be given to the next line - to health workers, then to people aged 65 and over. These will be followed by people with underlying medical conditions and those working in nursing homes. Then the rest of the population will be vaccinated.

In the summer, the Olympics should be held in Tokyo, no matter how the situation with the coronavirus develops.

Australia and New Zealand

These countries briefly found themselves in the company of those where vaccination had not yet begun. So, on February 15, the first shipments of Pfizer and BioNTech vaccines arrived in Australia and New Zealand.

An airplane with a cargo of 142,000 doses of vaccine landed in Canberra, vaccination starts on February 22.

New Zealand received the first batch of 60,000 doses of vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech. The drug will be tested for safety, and on Saturday, February 20, the vaccination of border guards will begin.

South Korea

The first vaccinations in South Korea will begin on February 26, with healthcare workers and vulnerable populations being first in line, Reuters reports. By November, they are going to form herd immunity.

The UK authorities have signed contracts with various suppliers of the coronavirus vaccine, ensuring that everyone in the country gets the vaccine. The number of doses will exceed the total population: the Republic of Korea has a population of just fewer than 52 million.

The vaccine will be supplied to South Korea primarily from the United States and Western Europe: Moderna will supply South Korea with a vaccine for 20 million people, AstraZeneca and Pfizer - 10 million each, Janssen - another 6 million. South Korea also participates in the global COVAX project, which will provide vaccines for another 10 million people.

The coronavirus vaccination situation is constantly changing. So, on February 15, South Korea decided not to use the AstraZeneca vaccine for people aged 65+. There are also delays in deliveries under COVAX.

South Korea planned to complete the vaccination of 1.3 million people by the end of the first quarter with AstraZeneca, but sharply cut the plan to 750,000 people.

Related: AstraZeneca vaccine to arrive in Ukraine by end of this week, - Health Minister

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