BY DAYO ADESULU
Research has proven that just ten nations with less than half the world’s population are administering three-quarters of all COVID-19 vaccine doses, while the poorest countries have barely begun vaccinating due to lack of funding and supply.
Global Health Innovation Center, at the current rate of vaccine delivery, the world’s 92 poorest countries won’t reach 60% coverage until 2023 or beyond.
Beyond access to vaccines, reaching high and equitable vaccination rates, especially in low-resource settings, will require significant investment and assistance in supply chain and logistics, training and availability of health workers, appropriate regulatory oversight, and efforts to combat vaccine misinformation and hesitancy.
It was gathered that the U.S. alone is expected to have at least 300 million excess doses of vaccine by the end of July 2021, according to new research released today.
It is in the U.S. interest to proactively and urgently address COVID-19 vaccine inequity.
Furthermore, vocal U.S. leadership on the global stage is imperative for a more effective and coordinated global response at a time when nations such as China and Russia are attempting to gain influence through vaccine diplomacy.
Meanwhile, the virus is continuing to circulate and new variants are emerging, threatening the U.S. and the world and slowing global economic recovery. In short, the pandemic will not end anywhere until it ends everywhere.
The new research paper outlines a three-part plan to strengthen U.S. leadership for safe, effective, and equitable global vaccine access, which is needed urgently. The recommended approach combines:
- Further U.S. commitments to strengthen COVAX;
- U.S. leadership to develop a plan to make excess vaccine doses available as soon as possible; and
- Comprehensive approaches to ramping up safe and reliable global vaccine manufacturing capacity.
The Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) Investment Opportunity launch on Thursday, April 15th, co-hosted by the U.S., will provide an opportunity for the US. to articulate more clearly its broader leadership role for the global response.
The paper is authored by Dr. Mark McClellan, Director, Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy and former U.S. F.D.A. Commissioner; Dr. Krishna Udayakumar, Director, Duke Global Health Innovation Center; Dr. Michael Merson, prior Director of the W.H.O. Global Program on AIDS and prior founding Director of the Duke Global Health Institute; Gary Edson, President of the COVID Collaborative and former U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor and Deputy National Economic Advisor; and Dr. Scott Gottlieb, Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and former U.S. F.D.A. Commissioner.