But in the developed world, where a rush to secure vaccine supplies began in the first weeks and months of the pandemic, a surplus has been ordered; with nations representing just 14% of the world’s population owning more than half of the most promising vaccines.
The group urged pharmaceutical companies to share their technology and intellectual property with the World Health Organization, and called on governments to commit to sending vaccines to the developing world, in order to close the economic disparity between nations as they look to emerge from the devastating Covid-19 crisis.
“No one should be blocked from getting a life-saving vaccine because of the country they live in or the amount of money in their pocket,” said Anna Marriott, Health Policy Manager at Oxfam — one of the charities that makes up the People’s Vaccine Alliance, along with Amnesty International, Global Justice Now and others.
“But unless something changes dramatically, billions of people around the world will not receive a safe and effective vaccine for Covid-19 for years to come,” she added.
In Canada, enough doses have been purchased to immunize citizens five times over if all the leading vaccines are approved, the group said.
Those prospects stand in stark contrast to the situation in the developing world.
In particular, the group identified 67 countries most at risk of being shut off from the pathway out of the pandemic. Five of them — Kenya, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan and Ukraine — have reported more than 1.5 million combined cases.
“The hoarding of vaccines actively undermines global efforts to ensure that everyone, everywhere can be protected from Covid-19,” said Steve Cockburn, Amnesty International’s Head of Economic and Social Justice. “By buying up the vast majority of the world’s vaccine supply, rich countries are in breach of their human rights obligations.”