Two billion COVID-19 vaccine doses distributed globally toll now, about 60 per cent have gone to just three countries – the US, India, and China, a senior adviser at the World Health Organization said.
Senior Advisor to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Bruce Aylward made the comments at a press briefing on Friday.
This week, we will see over two billion doses we will probably pass the two billion doses landmark in terms of the number of doses of the vaccines and new COVID-19 vaccines that have been developed. These have been distributed now in over 212 countries, Aylward said.
If we look at that two billion doses, over 75 per cent of it has gone to just 10 countries. And three countries- China, the US, and India account per cent those, he said.
He also said, “While COVAX has played an important role in distributing the COVID-19 doses to 127 countries and getting several countries to start their vaccination drives, the challenges are in the access to the vaccines. The 60 per cent of the two billion doses that have gone to China, India, and the US are all domestically procured and used.
Even if we look at the lower middle-income countries, it’s only fractionally higher than that in terms of the coverage that we are getting. So we are increasingly seeing a two-track recovery and rollout of the vaccines, he said.
Aylward said about 80 million doses have been distributed through COVAX so far and the global alliance for equitable vaccine distribution is about 200 million doses behind where it should be due to the disruption in COVAX supplies as a result of the devastating second wave in India.
“We saw how long it took to get the scale-up of in high-income countries. It takes a consistent supply of vaccines. So this is the crucial piece that we have got to fix in the next months if we are going to be on track to get out of the pandemic,” Aylward said.
He added that through COVAX, we have distributed just about 80 million doses at this print. We have about 200 million doses behind where we want to be because of the interruption of supply out of India because of the need to redirect them there And also because of the challenge that we are having getting other manufactures to scale up and come online early enough, such as the Johnson and Johnson product.
We expect India SII (Serum Institute of India) volumes to open up again in the fourth quarter at least, he said, adding that countries are going to fail unless they get vaccines early to start rolling out, building community confidence, building their systems. But we are setting up for failure if we don’t get early doses.
The Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, is the key supplier of AstraZeneca doses to COVAX. However, the supply of vaccines from SII to COVAX has been impacted as the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic ravages India.
Last month, Ghebreyesus had said that once the devastating outbreak in India recedes, we also need the Serum Institute of India to get back on track and catch up on its delivery commitments to COVAX.