As vaccines are concentrated in some wealthy countries, the WHO acknowledges that arrangements made to distribute doses worldwide are unlikely to be able to meet their original supply plans in developing countries for the month of May and 2021. For its target is threatened.
The crisis may affect Brazil. The organization’s summit attempts to guarantee 4 million new doses of vaccines from AstraZeneca to the country between late May and early June, in addition to another 800 thousand doses of Pfizer. But there is still no fixed date.
WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus estimates that by June, delivery to the world will be lower than expected at 190 million doses. According to UNICEF, 65 million vaccines have been dispatched to more than 130 countries so far. But the goal was that, the total distribution would have reached 170 million this week.
In the case of Brazil, the month of April has already seen delays in delivery of vaccines. But in the beginning of May, a consignment of 40 lakh doses reached the country. Brazil joined the international system after hesitation from former Chancellor Ernesto Araújo. When it became part of the country, the government purchased 42 million doses, which would be delivered by the end of the year 2021.
But the crisis is not only about Brazil. The export barriers in India have created earthquakes in the distribution process in the event of vaccine concentration in rich countries and local health crisis. A significant part of the international system of vaccines, known as Kovacs, will come from AstraZeneca and its production by the Serum Institute in India.
Seeing the scale of the epidemic in the country, the New Delhi government started banning the export of supplements. In practice, this meant that Kovacs had been cut by 14 million by May and there could be a further delay of 50 million in June.
In the case of Brazil, the supply will come from South Korea. But with the worldwide decrease due to the epidemic explosion in India, there is pressure to redirect part of the Korean dose to countries that have none of the other types of supplies.
At least 30 of the 130 countries benefiting from Covax are exclusively dependent on WHO to vaccinate their populations.
According to WHO representative Bruce Illeward for the vaccine, the reality is that by 2021, the goal of vaccinating 20% of the population in developing countries is at risk. “We’re not at that point,” he said. According to him, even if the agency had the money, there would be no way to buy the dose. “The target is in danger at the moment,” he announced.
Aylward believes that this scenario can be changed. According to him, rich countries are able to vaccinate their populations and still issue doses to redistribute to the poorest countries. The agency estimates that European countries, the United States, and Japan may release 153 million doses of their stock if they leave only 20% of their purchases already made for June, July and August.
The WHO also asks that, after many promises from countries that have widely vaccinated their populations, governments begin to turn donations into reality. This, according to the agency, needs to happen within a few weeks. “We don’t have months to wait,” Aylward warned.
The call to action is directed at the G7, which meets in June. But the organization also asks pharmaceutical companies to modify their contracts and allow additional doses to be donated to those countries.
The WHO has also criticized the governments of rich countries that have begun evaluating the vaccination of children, while the world’s poorest countries have not even vaccinated the elderly and doctors.
According to Tedros, the previous week was the second consecutive week that saw a decline in new numbers of people infected with Kovid-19. There has also been a decrease in deaths. But, according to him, inequality is increasing in the situation in countries where a large proportion of the population was vaccinated and in places where the epidemic is still spreading.
According to him, the WHO today does not have the resources to deal with the reality of the crisis in 2021 and the supply of vaccines to Covax focuses primarily on the companies’ promises for the second half of the year.
Tedros, in its press conference on Monday, called on companies to broaden their commitments and pointed out that, once the crisis in India subsided, it would request that the serum institute be re-exported.
UNICEF has also warned that while the situation is stabilizing in some rich countries, the situation is still grim in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Argentina and Brazil.