Experts say the only way to control the epidemic of coronavirus (Covid-19) is to unite the world.
About 55 million people worldwide have been infected with corona so far. More than 1.3 million of them have died. With the epidemic under control, many are now hoping for a vaccine.
However, there are still concerns that low-income countries may be deprived of the vaccine.
Attempts are now being made around the world to make the corona vaccine. But, how is the vaccine distributed in practice?
Richers bet to buy before the vaccine arrives
At first glance, at least two vaccines have been effective. Final testing of some other vaccines is underway and results of final testing of some vaccines are yet to come. Many vaccines are in the early stages of human testing.
However, so far no vaccine has been recognized. However, the process of purchasing vaccines continues.
According to Duke University in North Carolina, it is estimated that 6.4 billion doses of the vaccine have been purchased so far. In addition, 3.2 billion doses of the vaccine can be increased during negotiations or under the current agreement.
Claire Wenham, an assistant professor at the London School of Economics, says the practice of buying vaccines before they were built was not new. According to him, the one who was able to pay a lot of money in the beginning, his turn comes first. According to him, most of the vaccines have been purchased by high-income countries so far.
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Some middle-income and vaccine-producing countries have also managed to sign large purchase agreements.
India’s Serum Company, for example, says it will distribute half of its vaccines to its own country.
In addition, some other countries, such as Brazil and Mexico, have provided the necessary infrastructure for clinical trials and are hoping for future vaccines.
Indonesia is cooperating with Chinese vaccine manufacturers, while Brazil is also cooperating with Oxford University in developing and testing vaccines.
It is not yet clear which vaccine works, but countries around the world are looking to open up more options by buying more than one vaccine. Most of the vaccine buyers are from India, the European Union (EU), the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that while it is natural for leaders around the world to make sure their citizens are vaccinated at the outset, it is important to work together to fight the scourge as it is a global epidemic.
Andrea Taylor of Duke Analysis says “the current purchase agreement will limit the availability of the vaccine to other countries for the next two years”. According to him, “if we look at the current situation, rich countries will get vaccinated and low-income countries will have less access to it”.
According to experts, it is not clear how many vaccines will be available in the market. The agreement is still being worked out and there is still confusion over how to distribute it.
Indian author Chandrakant Lahariya, who is writing a book on corona, says how corona vaccines are available in low-income countries depends on how fast the vaccine is made, how fast it is made, and where it is produced. He said that the price of the vaccine would be very cheap depending on the vaccine production capacity of India and it would be available even in low and middle-income countries.
Some analysts say that even if most of the vaccines being manufactured are successful, the vaccines bought by rich countries for alternatives may be supplied elsewhere. This can balance the overall vaccine supply.
However, by the end of 2021, in low- and middle-income countries, large-scale immunization programs are unlikely to move forward.
The US company Pfizer has said it will produce 50 million doses of the vaccine this year and 1.3 billion by the end of next year. Everyone needs two doses of this vaccine. Thus, this number is very low based on the overall population. However, the Moderna company claims that its vaccine tests have shown encouraging results, raising expectations that other vaccines may be successful. It seems that the supply of vaccines around the world can be easy and adequate only if many vaccines are successful.
New vaccine distribution scheme – COVAX
Inequality in global health is not new. According to the WHO, about 20 million children worldwide do not receive adequate immunizations each year.
According to research, vaccine supplies were purchased in advance during the 2009 swine flu pandemic in most rich countries. According to Weinham, world health is divided into about 90/10 parts. Where 90 percent of the world’s pharmaceutical products go to 10 percent of the world’s population.
With the aim of ending this kind of health inequality, the WHO has put forward an important global vaccination plan, Covax, for the distribution of the corona vaccine. The plan aims to vaccinate at least 20 percent of the world’s population.
Wealthy countries have started buying potential corona vaccines with the aim of helping low-income countries. So far, 186 countries have participated in the scheme.
According to Covax’s plan, in the first phase, vaccines will be provided to reach three percent of the population in all countries, including health and social workers. After that, in the second phase, 20 percent of the population will be vaccinated. Vaccinations for this phase will cover groups over 65 or at high risk. The final stage vaccine will be made available to the rest of the group.
Covax has already purchased millions of doses of the potential corona vaccine in advance.
The participating countries have continued their bilateral agreements. This could affect Covax’s plan to vaccinate everyone.
Take the UK and Canada as examples. They are also investing in Covax. They are also negotiating directly with each other or with a pharmaceutical company about purchasing the vaccine. Some argue that such an action would devalue the Covax plan. Due to this, there is a fear that there will be a big difference between rich and low-income countries in vaccine distribution.