DURBAN – The answer on who will be first in line, to receive the Coronavirus vaccine has become harder as more than a billion doses of potential Coronavirus vaccines have already been bought by rich countries.
According to London-based analytics firm Airfinity the United States (U.S), Britain, the European Union and Japan have so far secured about 1.3 billion doses of potential Covid immunizations. Experts say even if a vaccine is declared safe and effective by year’s end, there won’t be enough for everyone as most potential vaccines require two doses.
In the U.S, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a group established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is supposed to recommend who to vaccinate and when advised that the government almost always follows.
Some of the most challenging questions they face include whether pregnant women (normally the last to get a vaccine) should be higher up on the list, or whether Black and Latino people who have been disproportionately affected by the virus should get access to the vaccine before the rest of the population.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance are working together to bring about equitable and broad access. They outlined an $18 billion plan in June to roll out shots and secure 2 billion doses by the end of 2021.
“Countries would need to strike a series of different agreements with vaccine makers to raise their chances of getting supplies, as some shots won’t succeed, a situation that could lead to bidding battles and inefficiencies. The thing we worry about most is getting a tangle of deals. Our hope is with a portfolio of vaccines we can get countries to come together,” said Gavi’s CEO Seth Berkley.
According to a statement issued out on Friday, the European Union is closing in on a deal for as many as 300 million doses of the Sanofi-Glaxo shot and is in advanced discussions with several other companies.
“The European Commission does all in its power to ensure that Europeans have rapid access to a vaccine that is safe and protects them from coronavirus. Today’s step with Sanofi-GSK is a first important cornerstone of a much broader European Vaccines Strategy. More will follow soon. We are in advanced discussions with several other companies,” said President von der Leyen.
For LIVE updates on the Coronavirus pandemic, follow us on Twitter: @sacoronamonitor