Sunday, February 28, 2021

10 rich countries hogging 75% of available Covid-19 jabs, says UN

130 poorer countries have not yet received a single dose.

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Ten rich countries have cornered 75% of all shots already manufactured, stored in their freezers or already administered to their people, the UN says.

This leaves 130 poorer countries without even their first doses, according to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

It’s unfair, Guterres said, that so few countries should control the bulk of the world’s vaccine supplies.

To address that inequity, he proposed that the members of G20 create an emergency task force to promote global vaccine access, CNN is reporting.

“At this critical moment, vaccine equity is the biggest moral test before the global community,” he said in a virtual meeting on Wednesday with the UN Security Council.

Around 188 million vaccine doses have been administered worldwide, according to the digital database Our World in Data. Tens of millions of those doses have gone to the US, China, the UK and Israel.

Guterres didn’t name the 10 countries that have administered three-quarters of all Covid-19 vaccines but the US is certainly among them – more than 72.4 million vaccines have been distributed there, and more than 56 million of them have been administered, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The proposed task force would include members of the Group of 20, made up of countries with the world’s largest economies, which would provide the money and scientific expertise to make vaccines more accessible for countries in the “Global South,” which includes countries in Africa, Latin America and South America.

The task force would perform similar functions as Covax, an initiative from the Vaccine Alliance known as Gavi and the World Health Organization. That initiative was created to buy vaccines in bulk and send them to poorer nations that can’t compete with wealthy countries in securing contracts with the major drug companies.

Covax is working toward delivering two billion vaccine doses to countries in the Global South.

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