COVID-19: How are vaccines being distributed to countries in need to curb outbreaks of coronavirus?

WHO has been asking rich countries to donate more and more doses to poor countries on an urgent basis

COVID-19 vaccine distribution: At present, vaccines seem to be the only solution against the widespread coronavirus pandemic, and to end the pandemic, it is important that vaccines reach all parts of the world. As a result, many groups are working to ensure that even poor countries, and not just the developed and rich ones, get the vaccine doses needed to inoculate their populations. Such groups are, however, lacking by a large margin to provide the amount of doses needed to curb the outbreaks of the pandemic, according to a report by AP.

One of the efforts being made towards providing vaccines to nations in need is the COVAX initiative. The group depends on donations from rich countries as well as private funding, but it has missed its own distribution goals due to lack of vaccine supplies as it had failed to secure doses in the early stages. COVAX has so far distributed 207 million (or 20.7 crore) doses across 138 countries in the world. To put this into perspective, the US alone has witnessed a distribution of over 417 million or 41.7 crore doses within the country as per the CDC data.

The group had been created in 2020 itself with the aim of ensuring fair distribution of the vaccine to countries that would otherwise not be able to secure supplies, and it is led by several health agencies including global health agency World Health Organisation (WHO). Since the group itself does not have sufficient purchased doses, it is now dependent on the doses donated to it by the wealthy nations. However, it would not be able to deliver most of the doses as per its pledged timeline this year, the report added.

Another obstacle for COVAX is logistics. The group requires countries to show how they planned to utilise the doses and immunise priority groups like healthcare workers and elderly people. However, the nations that are in desperate need of the doses have neither been able to demonstrate their ability to carry out such plans nor have access to resources that would facilitate them.

Apart from COVAX, there are other groups as well that have been working towards the end. The African Union in July announced that it had secured 400 million (40 crore) doses of vaccine from Johnson & Johnson to be distributed among 45 countries in Africa, while the US, Russia as well as China have donated millions of doses among the countries in need. Apart from this, the G-7 nations – France, Canada, the US, Japan, Britain, Italy, and Germany – in June announced that they would donate 1 billion or 100 crore vaccine doses to countries in need.

Even so, this is far less than the 11 billion doses that are needed to stop the spread of the virus, as per WHO.

Accordingly, to the WHO has been asking rich countries to donate more and more doses to poor countries on an urgent basis, and stopping plans to inoculate children and administration of booster shots in order to tackle this issue.

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