Poor countries got a raw deal on COVID-19 vaccination: experts
The fight against COVID-19 pandemic revealed global disparities in the distribution of vaccines.
This is according to a session held by the World Economic Forum, which recently brought together health experts and epidemiologists in the Swiss city of Davos.
The scientists called for the importance of expanding the establishment of regional networks to manufacture the vaccines in a way that guarantees fairness in combating current and future diseases.
Participants in the session, which was published on the official website of Davos, pointed that the pandemic and the subsequent global spread of vaccines, revealed both good and bad aspects of the global community’s ability to cooperate and respond.
Participants explained that one of the good aspects was the ability to deliver safe and effective vaccines in less than a year, which contributed to saving nearly 15 million lives. As for the bad aspects, despite the development of vaccines, there were 6.6 million confirmed deaths, as of last December—an estimated $14–28 trillion in economic damage globally.
They added that the unfair rollout and distribution of vaccines and sometimes disproportionate export bans to low-income countries— especially during the early days of the pandemic—enabled high-income countries to achieve vaccination rates.
One of the most important reasons for this was the lack of access to the capacity, to manufacture vaccines locally. For example, Africa, which imports more than 99 percent of its vaccines, was at the bottom of the waiting list to receive vaccines.
“Countries around the world need more control over strategic decisions and the development of appropriate pandemic preparedness responses that take advantage of new vaccine technologies.”
They reported that most countries, acting independently, lack the scale and production capacity to sustain manufacturing in non-pandemic times and effectively increase manufacturing during pandemics, while global systems lack the political leverage to make quick decisions and the authority to allocate vaccines fairly.