Small group of rich nations have bought up more than half the future supply of leading COVID-19 vaccine contenders
November 21, 2020 at 8:32 AM - Views: 6 #380163Cold Mountain TrailParticipant
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Wealthy nations representing just 13 percent of the world’s population have already cornered more than half (51 percent) of the promised doses of leading COVID-19 vaccine candidates, Oxfam warned today as the health and finance ministers of G20 countries meet to discuss the global pandemic.
Oxfam analyzed the deals that pharmaceutical corporations and vaccine producers have already struck with nations around the world for the five leading vaccine candidates currently in phase 3 clinical trials, based on data collected by Airfinity.
The international agency also warned that the same companies simply do not have the capacity to make enough vaccines for everyone who needs one. Even in the extremely unlikely event that all five vaccines succeed, nearly two thirds (61 percent) of the world’s population will not have a vaccine until at least 2022. It’s far more likely some of these experiments will fail, leaving the number of people without access even higher.
The calculations expose a broken system that protects the monopolies and profits of pharmaceutical corporations and favours wealthy nations, while artificially restricting production and leaving most of the world’s population waiting longer than necessary for a vaccine.
One of the leading vaccine candidates, developed by Moderna, has received $2.48 billion in committed taxpayer’s money. Despite this, the company has said it intends to make a profit from its vaccine and has sold the options for all of its supply to rich nations ―at prices that range from $12-16 per dose in the US to around $35 per dose for other countries― putting protection out of reach for many people living in poverty. While it may be making real efforts to scale up supply, according to reports, the company only has the capacity in place to produce enough for 475 million people, or 6 percent of the world’s population.
Oxfam and other organizations across the world are calling for a People’s Vaccine ―available to everyone, free of charge and distributed fairly based on need. This will only be possible if pharmaceutical corporations allow vaccines to be produced as widely as possible by freely sharing their knowledge free of patents, instead of protecting their monopolies and selling to the highest bidder.
Chema Vera, Interim Executive Director of Oxfam International, said: “Governments will prolong this crisis in all of its human tragedy and economic damage if they allow pharmaceutical companies to protect their monopolies and profits. No single corporation will ever be able to meet the world’s need for a COVID-19 vaccine. That’s why we are calling on them to share their knowledge free of patents and to get behind a quantum leap in production to keep everyone safe. We need a People’s Vaccine, not a profit vaccine.”
Beyond the five leading vaccine candidates, reported vaccine deals also reveal stark inequalities between countries. The UK government has managed to secure deals on several leading vaccine candidates, equivalent to five doses per head of population. By contrast, Oxfam analysis reveals that Bangladesh has so far secured only one dose for every nine people.
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