Big Picture

World’s richest countries have bought enough covid vaccines to immunise their populations 3 times – while the poorest countries could miss out

The world’s richest nations have bought enough Covid-19 vaccine doses to immunize their populations 3 times over by the end of 2021, and people in poorer countries could miss out as a result. Just one in 10 people in dozens of poor nations will be able to get vaccinated against the coronavirus because wealthy nations have hoarded more doses than they need, according to the People’s Vaccine Alliance. The People’s Vaccine Alliance is a network of organizations including Amnesty International, Frontline AIDS, Global Justice Now, and Oxfam.

Richest nations first?

Richer nations have ordered a surplus as data shows 14% of the global population have bought up 54% of the total stock of the world’s most promising covid vaccines. All of Moderna’s doses and 96% of Pfizer/BioNTech’s have already been acquired by wealthy nations.

Almost all the available doses of the BioNTech-Pfizer and Moderna vaccines — two of the most promising — have been bought up by rich nations, the Alliance said. The United Kingdom has already ordered 40million doses of the BioNTech-Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine.

The United States reserved 100 million doses of the BioNTech-Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine in July, while France, Germany Italy, and the Netherlands have agreed for 300 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine. Canada has enough supplies to vaccinate each Canadian five times.

Steve Cockburn, Amnesty International’s Head of Economic and Social Justice, said: “The hoarding of vaccines actively undermines global efforts to ensure that everyone, everywhere can be protected from COVID-19.

By buying up the vast majority of the world’s vaccine supply, rich countries are in breach of their human rights obligations. Rich countries have clear human rights obligations not only to refrain from actions that could harm access to vaccines elsewhere but also to cooperate and provide assistance to countries that need it.”

Nine out of 10 people in 67 poor countries risk being left behind as rich countries move towards their escape route from the pandemic.

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