Nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, widening the global gap

Nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, widening the global gap

By contrast, Covax – a push the World Health Organization supports for equitable distribution – aims to secure adequate doses. To cover up to 20 percent Of people in participating countries by the end of 2021, but they may not achieve this relatively modest goal, experts warn.

The gap between the “haves” and the “have-nots” is widening, fueling frustration and potentially widening the spread of the epidemic.

“It is unreasonable,” said Zain Razavi, an expert on access to medicines at Public Citizen, a watchdog group. “Many countries will be lucky if, by the end of the year, they come close to where the United States is now.”

So far, the vaccine race has been dominated by a handful of relatively wealthy countries: most notably Israel, where nearly 57 percent of the population had been fully vaccinated as of April 7; Chile, about 22 percent; And the United States. Britain is also vaccinating quickly, but has delayed the second doses because it is trying to get the first dose for as many people as possible.

while, Our world in data Estimates based on publicized data that at least 5 percent of the world’s population have taken a dose, with the true number (including the non-public count of China) possibly between 6 and 7 percent.

Priority supply deals, export restrictions and other means saving By the rich countries in the acute global supply crisis and left many countries in a state of stampede.

Covax has delivered 38 million doses, providing life-saving shots of places and people that might not have gone otherwise. However, these doses, split among 100 economies, represent only a thin layer of protection.

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“It is encouraging to see that such a small number of doses reach countries all over the world,” said Swiri Moon, co-director of the Center for Global Health at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. “But the big picture is more worrying than reassuring because we have a lot of things just not going well.”

While the United States administers millions of vaccinations every day, some countries are still waiting for their first shots to arrive, or are just starting to get vaccinated. newly WHO estimate It has been suggested that only 2 percent of the 690 million doses administered globally so far have gone to Africa.

A chorus of experts and officials have argued – for several months – that rich countries not only have a moral obligation to bridge the gap but an interest in doing so. They argue that with a portion of the world’s population vaccinated, the global economy will not recover and the virus will mutate and spread.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen On Monday, he called for accelerating distribution to poor countries, warning that the epidemic could force 150 million people into poverty, hurting growth.

“Our first mission must clearly be to stop the virus by ensuring that vaccinations, tests and treatments are available as widely as possible,” she said in remarks delivered to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

“Even if we vaccinate all 332 million people in the United States tomorrow, we will not be completely safe from the virus, not while it is still multiplying around the world and transforming into new variants that could easily come here and spread through our societies again,” he He said.

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Blinken, however, defended efforts to vaccinate Americans first, and suggested that more measures should wait until the United States becomes more confident in vaccine supplies.

“I know that many countries are asking the United States to do more, and some of them are experiencing increasing despair due to the scope and scale of their emergency situations,” he said. “We heard you. I promise, we are moving as fast as possible.”

The woman introduced as the new global coordinator of the coronavirus response, Gail Smith, served as CEO of ONE Campaign, a non-profit organization that has called on rich countries to donate 5% of their excess doses once they are vaccinated with 20%. Population.

For its part, the Biden administration announced a “loan” totaling 4 million doses of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine – not yet authorized by US regulators – to Mexico and Canada. However, it is not clear if the administration will offer a larger portion of the Hundreds of millions of overdoses The country has secured.

a A recent study Researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University found 788 Americans strong support for the idea of ​​donating 10 percent or more of US supplies to less prosperous countries, but opinions were divided on timing. While 41 percent of respondents said donations should be made immediately, 28 percent wanted to wait for Americans at risk to be vaccinated and 31 percent said donations should only be made after every person in the United States has been vaccinated.

In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made an offer in February Donate doses To 20 foreign allies, but the plan was Put it on hold In the face of local opposition and lawsuits.

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The Biden administration’s moves so far have focused on long-term efforts to boost global reach.

In February, the White House threw its support for Covax, announcing its funding for the Reaching $ 4 billion, Including an initial $ 2 billion contribution appropriated by Congress in December.

And last month, the United States, India, Japan and Australia Pledge To jointly manufacture and distribute up to 1 billion doses of coronavirus vaccines with a focus on Southeast Asia. But the schedule is long, with the goal of getting things up and running before the end of next year.

The Biden administration has so far resisted the pressure Waiver of patent protection In a way that allows more countries to manufacture vaccines against the Corona virus.

However, recent statements from Blinken indicate that some new initiatives may be on the way.

“Time is running out,” Moon said. “The situation is not improving.”

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