On Monday, a representative of the World Health Organization said that more than half of poor countries receiving COVID-19 vaccines under the COVAX program do not have sufficient stocks to continue vaccination.
“I would say that of the 80 Commitment to Market (AMC) countries that are eligible for COVID-19 vaccines under the advance purchase commitment – ed.) At least more than half do not have enough vaccines to continue their current immunization programmes,” said WHO Senior Adviser Global Health Bruce Aylward.
He pointed to Covax’s previous commitments from donor countries to pre-purchase vaccines for low- and middle-income countries, saying the true proportion was likely “much higher.” He added that some of them are completely gone.
The shortages, caused in part by production delays and supply disruptions in India, have emerged with infections and deaths rising across Africa as part of the third wave of coronavirus infections.
In mid-June, G7 leaders agreed to donate more than 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to poor countries through the COVAX program or directly, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Sunday at the summit’s closing press conference.
Earlier, BBC News and Sky News, citing an unpublished summit statement, said it contained a record number saying leaders had pledged to donate at least 840 million doses during the year.
Even before the G7 summit, the United States announced that it would buy 500 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine and give them to poorer countries, and the United Kingdom announced that it would donate at least 100 million doses of its surplus.
Of the total of 350 million German doses of vaccines, there will also be 30 million doses that the Germans originally ordered for themselves but then decided to pass on to others.
“These donations will increase over time,” Merkel told a news conference at the end of the G7 summit at Carbis Bay in Cornwall. She noted the supply problems that vaccine manufacturers face.
She stressed that it is currently difficult to make promises in this area, because, for example, due to reductions in the manufacturer Johnson & Johnson, not all required quantities of vaccines have been delivered.
“But if we have a surplus, we will pass it on immediately,” Merkel said, referring in particular to the fourth quarter, when companies will have to provide more vaccines than required in the vaccination campaign for citizens in Germany.
Most of the German contribution goes through the Covax immunization programme. Germany is the second largest donor country there. Kovacs uses the money to fund vaccine production and build manufacturing facilities. Merkel said the goal is to ensure that all people in the world have access to vaccines.
The German chancellor said that the Group of Seven “adopted a common position that the epidemic should only be defeated globally. Vaccines are the way out of the epidemic.” Merkel said that the production of the vaccine should take place not only in Europe or Asia, but also, for example, in Africa.
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