High-income countries have provided themselves with vaccines for the Covid-19 coronavirus, leaving almost nothing to low-income countries. The day before, the World Health Organization accused the rich countries of selfishness and said that buying up all doses of the coronavirus vaccine endangers the lives of people at risk. According to WHO, vaccinations against coronavirus must first be given to these categories of the population, regardless of the country.
Inequality in access to the vaccine: One poor country received only 25 doses
Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said about inequality in access to the vaccine and gave specific numbers.
"More than 39 million doses of vaccine have been received by residents in at least 49 high-income countries, while one of the lowest-income countries received 25 doses," the head of WHO said.
Vaccine problems in poor countries are undermining efforts to combat the pandemic around the world. The head of WHO believes that limited access to vaccines is becoming a "stone in the wall of inequality" between the haves and have-nots.
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
"It is correct that all states want to prioritize vaccinations for health workers and the elderly. But it is wrong that younger, healthier adults in wealthy countries receive the vaccine earlier than health workers and older people in poorer countries," the WHO director general noted.
Countries with the highest vaccination rates in the world as of January 18
Some countries have bypassed COVAX by raising prices and trying to "skip the line."
The cost of this will be the lives and livelihoods of the world's poorest countries, Ghebreyesus said.
Enough vaccines for everyone
In his speech yesterday, he also assured that "there will be enough vaccines for everyone," but "right now it is necessary to work together ... and give priority to at-risk groups in all countries."
Over the past 9 months, ACT Accelerator and COVAX have been laying the groundwork for the fair distribution and introduction of coronavirus vaccines, he said.
“We have overcome scientific, legal, logistical, and regulatory barriers. We have received two billion doses from five manufacturers with options for an additional 1 billion doses and are planning to start shipping in February. COVAX is ready to provide what it was created for,” says the WHO head.
Thus, most of the countries at risk will rely on the international COVAX initiative, established by Gavi Swiss private partnership and supported by WHO. Ukraine also hopes for COVAX. Azerbaijan is among the countries counting on this program. January 18, the first stage of vaccination with the Chinese drug CoronaVac began.
What are the consequences of inequality?
The head of WHO spoke of "a catastrophic moral failure" because people at risk in poor countries will suffer, and healthy people in rich countries will receive the vaccine earlier than those in dire need of it.
Experts from the Wellcome International Foundation for Medical Research with an office in London called more specific consequences, namely the emergence of new dangerous mutations of the coronavirus.
“We cannot leave parts of the world without access to vaccines because they will just come back to us. It puts everyone around the world at risk,” said Charlie Weller, head of vaccines at the Wellcome Medical Research Foundation.
Immunization inequalities pose a threat to rich and poor nations alike. Mutations may be less affected by existing anticancer drugs.
According to Airfinity Ltd., 85% of Pfizer Inc.'s vaccines are provided to high-income countries. and all doses of Moderna Inc.
The current situation with vaccinations
Despite the success in the procurement of drugs, vaccination even in wealthy countries has already caused a number of problems. For example, in Europe, there are problems with the logistics and delivery of vaccines to patients, and in Italy, there are not enough needles. The UK decided to give citizens only one dose of the vaccine out of two, which no one had done before.
Israel has long been the leader in coronavirus vaccinations, competing with the UAE, according to the vaccination map by Our world in data. Here they ordered Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca vaccines.
How many vaccinations have been made at this time: According to the Israeli Ministry of Health, on the morning of January 19, 2,185 million received the first dose of the vaccine (about 60,000 in the last day), the second dose – 420,015 people (more than 110,000 in the last day). The population of Israel is about 9 million people. (So far we are talking exclusively about the Pfizer vaccine).
In the 90+ age group, 82% of citizens received the first dose of the vaccine. The country has already begun to register for vaccination of citizens of the 40+ category.
The reasons for the success, according to The Washington Post, are a small population and a developed healthcare system. Every citizen is assigned to one of the "health insurance funds" that distribute vaccines centrally. Each patient has an electronic file containing information about him for the last 20 years.
In Israel, there are priority lists for vaccination of population groups: over 60 years old, risk groups. Not all representatives of risk groups are for vaccination. If a bottle with 5 doses in one has already been taken out of the refrigerator, then they quickly become unusable (you need a "super cold"). Partly to avoid this, people who do not belong to any of these groups are vaccinated.
A high refusal rate (up to 40%) in places of residence of the Arab population. Also, Israel does not supply vaccines to the Palestinian territories, while thousands of Palestinians are constantly working in Israel, and the epidemiological level is increasing.
Insufficient rates of vaccine supplies to Israel. Record rates of vaccinations have led to difficulties in negotiations with Pfizer. According to media reports, the governments of other countries have demanded a more even distribution of vaccines, but the company cannot quickly increase production. The company itself denies that external pressure can lead to a reduction in supplies.
They tried to find a way out of this situation: Israel made a deal with Pfizer, promising to share medical data with the company in exchange for the continued supply of the hard-to-find vaccine, reports AP. The deal has been criticized for ethical issues and potential privacy breaches.
UK: 24/7 vaccination, but one dose
The UK was the first to start vaccinating on 8 December and is among the countries with the highest vaccination rates in the world.
In total, the country has ordered 100 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and 30 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Another 17 million doses of the Moderna vaccine are expected in the spring.
How many vaccines have been vaccinated so far: The number of people in the United Kingdom receiving the first dose of vaccine has exceeded 4 million. A little over 450,000 people received the second dose. The population of the country is 66.7 million people.
Vaccinations began with people over 80 years old and health workers, then they began to vaccinate people over 70 years old. It is planned that all adult citizens must receive at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine by September 2021. The plan is to have two million vaccines per week, with each of the four main priority groups (up to 15 million people) receiving the first dose of vaccine by mid-February.
For the formation of immunity against coronavirus, with most vaccines, two doses must be administered with a specific time interval between them. The UK’s problem now is that patients are given only one dose, but that way more people get the vaccine. The government cannot guarantee that all vaccinated people will receive a second dose of vaccine if necessary.
How does the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine work?
The authorities complain that they have neither time nor space. Prime Minister Boris Johnson believes vaccinations can be carried out around the clock, seven days a week. In Britain, "vaccinodromes" are created - any large spaces under a roof, including cathedrals (for example, Salisbury Cathedral).
News of a cut in Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine supply in the coming weeks will also have an impact on vaccination rates.
In the country, the situation with the pandemic is only getting worse due to a new mutation of the coronavirus. The country has almost 3.5 million infected and 90,000 deaths. There are over 37,000 patients with Covid-19 in hospitals.
The UK last week set a world record for the number of deaths from Covid-19 per 1 million people. per day: on average, 16.5 deaths per million people were recorded per week.
India is fighting fakes and wants to vaccinate 300 million people
On Saturday 16 January, India launched one of the most ambitious vaccination programs in the world. By July 2021, 300 million people from the country's 1.3 billion population are going to be vaccinated.
India has approved two vaccines for use - Oxford-AstraZeneca (produced locally by the Indian Serum Institute) and a domestic vaccine developed by Bharath Biotech, whose clinical trials are still pending.
The Hindu newspaper reported that there is little turnout at medical centers in the regions because people are scared. Misinformation is spreading that the vaccine is not safe. There are many fakes on the Internet about the side effects of the vaccine, at the same time they publish videos with fictitious doctors broadcasting about the healing of patients with coronavirus with cow urine and vitamin C.
"We cannot force anyone to be vaccinated, it is voluntary," the doctor, who wants to stay unidentified, said.
India has the second-highest number of coronavirus cases in the world, with nearly 10.5 million people.
Vaccination in Europe: Countries complain of needle Shortages and doctors
The European Union has allowed the use of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines on its territory.
Germany began the vaccination campaign at the same time as France on December 27. In Germany, many are dissatisfied with the rate of vaccination, especially since it was the German company BioNTech (together with the American Pfizer) that released the vaccine. As of January 18, 1,139,297 people (1.4% of the population) received the first dose of the vaccine, 6581 people received the second. The population of Germany is 83 million people.
Another problem is logistics: many European countries have not thought about how the vaccine will reach the consumer.
Italy is among the leaders in vaccination against coronavirus in Europe. The authorities here complain about the need to spend time defrosting the vaccine, the difficulty in obtaining consent for vaccinations from vulnerable citizens in nursing homes. Experts also talk about a shortage of medical personnel and special needles for injecting the vaccine.