The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced this week that the Covid-19 virus is still spreading at a faster rate than the vaccines are being distributed. With the recent creation of the G7 vaccine, the WHO is hoping to share a billion doses with poorer nations who haven’t had access the way that the US has.
“This is a big help, but we need more, and we need them faster. Right now, the virus is moving faster than the global distribution of vaccines. More than 10,000 people are dying every day … These communities need vaccines, and they need them now, not next year,” World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told journalists.
The Group of Seven (G7) industrialized powers did pledge to exceed their promise of more than one billion doses considering the world needs more than 11 billion to get every single citizen fully vaccinated.
Covax, a global body that is responsible for vaccine distribution throughout the world, is filtering a majority of the G7 vaccines. “WHO wants at least 70% of the world’s population vaccinated by the next G7 meeting in Germany next year. To do that, we need 11bn doses. The G7 and G20 can make this happen,” said Tedros.
“We need to see more clarity around the actual number of doses donated, and exactly how long it’s going to take to translate their pledges into real impact and access,” Hu Yuanqiong, of the medical charity Doctors Without Borders, stated.
Many critics have pointed out that the existence of Covid vaccine patent protections is the main reason the entire world isn’t producing effective vaccines everywhere right now. Instead of sharing the treatment for this illness that has killed millions all around the world, wealthier countries are hoarding the patents and selling them at high prices for poor countries that can’t afford it and are continuing to watch their people die.
“Fully-fledged negotiations towards a possible suspension of intellectual property protections for Covid vaccines, as well as other medical tools needed to battle the pandemic, have just begun at the World Trade Organization after months of contentious debate.” said Max Lawson, Oxfam’s head of inequity policy.
“G7 leaders say they want to vaccinate the world by the end of next year, but their actions show they care more about protecting the monopolies and patents of pharmaceutical giants.”
Human Rights Watch agreed, stating that: “Focusing on vaccines and making charitable donations are not enough. The G7’s failure to unequivocally support a temporary waiver of global intellectual property rules is a deadly status quo.”
Currently, more than $16 billion is necessary to fully fund the efforts currently in place to speed up vaccine production, and overall access to Covid-19 diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.