A group of rich countries representing 13% of the world’s population has pre-purchased half of future doses of Covid-19 vaccines, according to a report released on Wednesday by the NGO Oxfam. Switzerland is one of this group.
The United States as early as May, then the United Kingdom, the European Union, Japan and other countries signed multiple contracts guaranteeing in advance the production and delivery of doses if the clinical trials in progress were conclusive. The Americans will even have doses delivered as early as October, in order to be ready to distribute them within 24 hours of a possible health authorization.
The logic of these countries is to source as a precaution from multiple competing manufacturers, in the hope that at least one of their vaccines will prove effective. But the report released on Wednesday by theunderlines with urgency the difficulty that the second part of the world population will have to find vaccines in the initial period.
“Vital access to vaccines should not depend on where you live or on the money you have”, regretted Robert Silverman, of the NGO which mobilizes against poverty and injustices through the world.
Contracts for 5.3 billion doses
The AstraZeneca group, a partner of the University of Oxford, signed the most of these contracts publicly, but Sanofi, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, the American biotech company Moderna, the Chinese laboratory Sinovac and the Russian institute Gamaleïa have also pre-sold hundreds of millions of doses worldwide, sometimes in the form of partnerships with local manufacturers.
According to Oxfam, contracts have already been signed with five of these manufacturers in phase III clinical trials for 5.3 billion doses, of which 51% for developed countries. In addition to the countries already mentioned, there are also Australia, Hong Kong, Switzerland and Israel. Figures do not include contracts for vaccines not yet in phase III.
The rest has been pledged to developing countries including India, home to giant manufacturer Serum Institute of India, Bangladesh, China, Brazil, Indonesia and Mexico, according to Oxfam.
Donald Trump’s United States (330 million people) has reserved a total of 800 million doses from six manufacturers, and the European Union (450 million people) has purchased at least 1.5 billion doses .
fgn with agencies