rich countries have reserved half of future vaccine doses, Oxfam says

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A group of wealthy countries, representing 13% of the world’s population, have pre-purchased half of future doses of Covid-19 vaccines, according to a report published Wednesday September 16 by the non-governmental organization (NGO) Oxfam.

The logic of these countries is to source as a precaution from multiple competing manufacturers, in the hope that at least one of their vaccines will prove effective, but the report highlights the difficulty that part of the population will have. world to find vaccines in the initial period, while an international pooling device called Covax, supported by the World Health Organization (WHO), was boycotted by Washington and lacked funding.

The United States, as early as May, then the United Kingdom, the European Union, Japan and other countries have signed multiple contracts guaranteeing in advance the production and delivery of doses if clinical trials are underway. were conclusive. The Americans will even have doses delivered as early as October, in order to be ready to distribute them within 24 hours of a possible health authorization.

The AstraZeneca group, a partner of the University of Oxford, signed the most of these contracts publicly, but Sanofi, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, the American biotech Moderna, the Chinese laboratory Sinovac and the Russian institute Gamaleïa have also pre-sold hundreds of millions of doses worldwide, sometimes in the form of partnerships with local manufacturers.

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“Vaccine nationalism”

According to Oxfam, contracts have already been signed with five of these manufacturers in phase 3 of clinical trials for 5.3 billion doses, of which 51% for developed countries: those mentioned above, but also Australia, Hong Kong, Switzerland and Israel (figures do not include contracts for vaccines not yet in phase 3).

The rest has been pledged to developing countries including India (where giant manufacturer Serum Institute of India is located), Bangladesh, China, Brazil, Indonesia and Mexico, according to Oxfam.

Donald Trump’s United States (330 million people) has reserved a total of 800 million doses from six manufacturers, and the European Union (450 million people) has purchased at least 1.5 billion doses , according to a statement from Agence France-Presse (AFP). Gold, “Vital access to vaccines should not depend on where you live or how much money you have”, a regretté Robert Silverman, d’Oxfam.

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Experts in public health have proposed several methods of global distribution: the WHO would like to give each country enough to vaccinate 20% of its population; a group of ethicists suggested prioritizing countries where the virus kills the most.

But the United States has announced that it intends to offer the vaccine first to all its inhabitants, not just the vulnerable and the elderly. This kind of “Vaccine nationalism” was denounced by multiple public health officials, and by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, in a speech Wednesday before the European Parliament.

Read the interview with Antonio Guterres: “We absolutely must see the vaccine against the pandemic as a public good”

The World with AFP

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