In Brief

Coronavirus: richest countries ‘hoarding’ Covid vaccines from world’s poorest, watchdog says

67 developing nations can hope to vaccinate ‘just one in ten people’ by the end of next year

Many of the world’s poorest nations will be forced to go without Covid-19 vaccines as richer countries are hoarding enough doses to immunise their populations three times over, an international vaccine watchdog has claimed.

The People’s Vaccine Alliance, a coalition campaigning for universal access to the jabs, said that “in nearly 70 of the poorest nations, only one in ten people can hope to get a vaccine by the end of next year”, The Times reports. Five of the 67 nations - Kenya, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan and Ukraine - have reported nearly 1.5 million cases between them.

Shortages are being caused by the world’s developed nations, which represent just 14% of the population, buying up “more than half of the most promising vaccines”, the paper adds.

The campaign, which includes Oxfam and Amnesty International, found that “all doses of the Moderna vaccine have been bought by rich countries, as have 96% of Pfizer’s doses”, Sky News says. Canada was singled out as having bought enough vaccines to give the jab to every citizen five times. 

Promising results from the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which will be provided to low- and middle-income countries at not-for-profit prices “in perpetuity”, had been hoped to be a potential fix to vaccine hoarding.

But the campaign said that “even a promise from those behind the vaccine to allocate 64% of doses to people in developing nations may not be enough”, Sky News adds.

“The hoarding of vaccines actively undermines global efforts to ensure that everyone, everywhere can be protected from Covid-19,” said Steve Cockburn, head of economic and social justice at Amnesty International. 

“By buying up the vast majority of the world’s vaccine supply, rich countries are in breach of their human rights obligations.”

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