World’s richest countries accused of hoarding COVID-19 vaccines

New analysis by global anti-poverty organisation The ONE Campaign claims to show that the world’s richest countries are on course to accumulate more than 1 billion more doses than they would need to fully vaccinate all their own citizens.
Source: PA images

By Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at the Parliament Magazine

19 Feb 2021

The analysis finds that the EU, Australia, Canada, Japan, UK, and US have already secured a total of over 3 billion doses of approved COVID-19 vaccines, almost 1 billion more than the 2.06 billion needed to give their entire populations two doses. To date, the rest of the world has only been able to secure 2.5 billion doses and 130 countries have not yet received a single dose.

The EU alone, says ONE, has secured contracts for more than enough doses to vaccinate every European twice and have almost 500 million doses left. ONE’s analysis also claims to show that, taken alongside other vaccines procured by COVAX and bilateral deals, these doses would go a long way to protect the most vulnerable people around the world — significantly cutting the risk of death from COVID, reducing the likelihood of dangerous new strains emerging, and increasing the speed at which the world can end the pandemic.

Brandon Locke, Policy and Advocacy Manager at The ONE Campaign said, “While Russia and China are already sharing COVID-19 vaccine doses with lower-income countries, the EU is losing ground in the race to deliver a global response to the pandemic. The EU is continuing to accumulate COVID-19 vaccine contracts when 130 countries have not received a single dose. This G7 meeting represents an opportunity for the EU to rally leaders behind a plan for getting vaccines to everyone, everywhere.”

“The quicker we can protect the whole world, the sooner this pandemic ends for all of us and we can begin the task of rebuilding and getting our lives back on track” Jenny Ottenhoff, Senior Director for Policy at The ONE Campaign

Further comment comes from Jenny Ottenhoff, Senior Director for Policy at The ONE Campaign added: “The good news is that when G7 leaders meet on Friday, they have the chance to seize this opportunity. If they can agree a fast, fair, and effective way to share excess doses with other countries as soon as they come off the production line, they could really supercharge the global fight against this virus. The quicker we can protect the whole world, the sooner this pandemic ends for all of us and we can begin the task of rebuilding and getting our lives back on track.”

The demand echoes that of French President Emmanuel Macron who, in an interview with The Financial times, called on Europe and the US to urgently send up to 5 percent of their Coronavirus vaccine supplies to developing nations. He said the failure to share vaccines fairly would entrench global inequality. "It won't change our vaccination campaigns, but each country should set aside a small number of the doses it has to transfer tens of millions of them, but very fast, so that people on the ground see it happening.”

So far, the vast majority of vaccinations have been administered by high-income countries.

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