Inequity still persists in the global response to the coronavirus pandemic. The richer countries are getting new COVID vaccine having received tens of millions of doses. But the poorer countries are left hanging.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. CEPI, one of the organizations leading COVAX, gave Novavax $388 million to fast-track the vaccine’s development, aimed at making the shot available in poorer countries as the pandemic was exploding two years ago.
The investment guaranteed COVAX the “right of first refusal” to the first Novavax doses, but the deal applied only to factories in the Czech Republic, South Korea and Spain, said CEPI spokesman Bjorg Dystvold Nilsson.
There are other factories that aren’t part of the deal — and their shots are going elsewhere.
“Whatever the reason, a vaccine that was believed to be highly suitable for poor countries is now in large part going to rich countries,” said Zain Rizvi, a drug policy expert at the U.S. advocacy group Public Citizen. “It’s tragic that in year three of the pandemic, we still cannot get the resources, attention and political will to solve vaccine inequity.”
Health officials are worried worry that the urgency to vaccinate people everywhere against COVID-19 has disappeared, especially as many countries roll back precautions and the world’s attention is diverted.
There are still alot of unvaccinated people worldwide in the poorer countries and as is the case, they are at the back of the line.