More than half of any COVID vaccine produced will go to wealthy nations

Rich countries, including the US and UK, have struck deals to secure supply of 2.7 billion doses

Vaccine
Currently, there are four vaccine candidates that hold promise, besides the vaccine approved by Russia | Representative Photo: iStock

Half the amount of doses of any future COVID vaccine that will be produced will end up in a few wealthy nations, including the US, UK and Australia, as they have already secured the supply through various deals.

Currently, there are four vaccine candidates that hold promise, besides the vaccine approved by Russia. Current capacities will allow production of about 5.9 billion doses of these vaccines.

Deals have already been made for supply of 5.3 billion doses, of which deals for 2.7 billion (51 per cent) doses have been done by developed countries, including the US, UK, European Union, Australia, Japan, Switzerland and Israel, according to non-governmental organisation Oxfam, reported AFP.

Developing countries, including India, Bangladesh, China, Brazil, Indonesia and Mexico, have secured supply of another 2.6 billion doses, Oxfam said on the basis of an analysis of available data collected by Airfinity, an analytics firm.

The four vaccines candidates are being developed by AstraZeneca in association with the Oxford University in the UK, Moderna, Pfizer and Sinovac. The Russian vaccine, Sputnik V, developed by Gamaleya is ready for distribution in Russia. However, many experts are wary of the vaccine as they doubt its efficacy because it was rushed through without conducting a large-scale phase 3 trial.

Moderna has pledged supply if all its doses to rich countries, Oxfam said, and the company has already signed deals worth $2.5 billion if the vaccine is approved.

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AZD1222, the vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca, is in the phase 3 stage of trials in many countries, including in the UK and India. The Pune-based Serum Institute of India has signed a deal with the Pharma company to manufacture one-billion doses of the vaccine when approved for supply to low-and-middle-income countries.

Bangladesh-based Beximco Pharmaceuticals has invested in the Serum Institute to secure priority supply of the vaccine to the country.

Many organisations like Oxfam have demanded a “people’s vaccine” that can be distributed free, especially in poorer countries.

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“This will only be possible if pharmaceutical corporations allow vaccines to be produced as widely as possible by freely sharing their knowledge free of patents, instead of protecting their monopolies and selling to the highest bidder,” Oxfam said, reported AFP.

“Access to a life-saving vaccine shouldn’t depend on where you live or how much money you have,” said Robert Silverman, advocacy manager, private sector department, at Oxfam America, the news agency reported.

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