The US administration’s decision may represent the beginning of a new phase in worldwide vaccination campaign against the Covid-19. After the appeals, also repeated during the day, of theWorld Health Organization for a more equitable redistribution of doses that takes into account the poor immunization of the poorest countries, the US Secretary of State, Antony Blink, announced during a hearing in the House that the country will distribute from now to the end of July 80 million doses vaccine to the countries that need it most.
It will start, he added, with a first block of 25 million of which 75% will go to support the program Covax for the redistribution of anti-coronavirus drugs in the poorest countries in the world, while the remaining 25% will be entrusted directly from Washington. The administration’s decision comes after the WHO director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, during the usual press point on the Sars-CoV-2 situation, had launched a new appeal the same day asking “all manufacturers to grant the Covax platform the right of first refusal on the new volume of vaccines or to commit 50% for Covax of their volumes ”produced this year. An appeal along the same lines as the one launched by 230 prominent personalities, including 100 former heads of state, government or ministers, with a letter quoted by Guardian in which the leaders of the G7 to pay two thirds of the 66 billion dollars needed to vaccinate low-income countries. From Tony Blair a Ban Ki Moon, gives Richard Branson to the Nobel Prize in Economics, Bengt Holmström, all have asked governments to UK, United States, France, Germany, Italy, Japan e Canada to make 2021 “a turning point in global cooperation”.
Ghebreyesus recalled that “vaccine sharing is now essential to end the acute phase of Covid-19. At the 74th World Health Assembly, I called for a massive global effort to vaccinate at least 10% of the population of all countries by September and at least 30% by the end of the year. To achieve these goals, we need to additional 250 million doses by September, 100 million in June and July alone “. An objective that must be pursued vigorously, the one highlighted by the WHO director general, because a massive spread of the virus in the poorest countries, with borders that are reopening all over the world, would risk giving rise to new mutations of the virus which may also be resistant to the vaccines used to date. “This weekend, the leaders of the G7 will meet for their annual summit. These seven nations have the power to achieve these goals – he added – I ask the G7 not only to commit to sharing the doses, but to commit to sharing them in June and July ”.
Looking at the numbers, the situation of the poorest areas of the country appears dramatic. “Six months after the anti-Covid vaccinations started, the high-income countries have administered almost 44% of the doses – explained Ghebreyesus – Those with low income only 0.4%. The most frustrating thing about this statistic is that nothing has changed in recent months. L’unfair distribution of vaccines it has allowed the virus to continue spreading, increasing the chances of a variant emerging that makes vaccines less effective ”. Inequality in vaccinations, he added, “is a threat to all nations, not just those with the fewest vaccines.”
In addition to fairer redistribution of vaccines, a increased production of these drugs, so as to be able to guarantee both the complete immunization of less rich countries and the recalls that may be necessary as early as next autumn. “The increase in production – explained Ghebreyesus – does not happen overnight, but the sooner you invest, the sooner you can start. At the World Health Assembly, member states adopted a resolution calling on WHO to further support countries for increase local production. We will do this, we will help identify bottlenecks, provide solutions and develop production acceleration plans ”.
One of these, continues the director, involves the creation of “a mRna technology transfer hub to facilitate greater global production of these vaccines. We have received expressions of interest from some companies and some countries wishing to receive the technology and build production plants. Sharing vaccines is now essential. But it is also clear that, in an emergency, low-income countries cannot rely solely on vaccine imports from richer nations ”. Investing in local production therefore “is essential for Covid-19 vaccines and for the production of routine vaccinations and other health products”.