July 25, 2021

Access to anti-Covid vaccines: the great North-South divide

It’s a balance sheet “Tragic” announced on Wednesday July 7 by the World Health Organization (WHO). The threshold of four million deaths from Covid-19 has been exceeded and the figures are “very certainly” underestimated, underlined the boss of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who is alarmed by an epidemic resumption in Many countries. As the far more contagious Delta variant spreads like wildfire across the planet, the world is “At a dangerous point in this pandemic”, at-il having you.

For months, the WHO has warned of the dangers of a two-speed vaccination, leaving poor countries largely helpless in the face of the virus, and promoting the emergence of increasingly dangerous variants. Despite their promises, rich countries have so far rarely shared their vaccines: of the 3.3 billion doses already administered, only 1% have been administered in the poorest countries. To vaccinate 70% of the planet – the theoretical threshold of collective immunity – around 11 billion doses are needed, but unless shared more equitably, this goal will not be reached before 2023, according to the work of Duke Global Health Innovation Center in Durham, North Carolina, cited in review Nature.

The Covax device, which aims to ensure access to vaccines in low- and middle-income countries, has so far delivered 100 million doses to 135 participating territories. But the supply of this device has practically dried up this month, according to the WHO, which co-directs the program. “The world is failing”, warned Tedros Ghebreyesus at the end of June, who had expressed the wish that each country begin to immunize its health workers and the most vulnerable people in the first hundred days of 2021 – a date passed in April.

Significant disparities

The vaccination figures – compiled by Oxford University’s Our World in Data site – speak for themselves. If more than half of the population has already received at least one dose in the United States or in the European Union, barely more than 30% of the inhabitants of South America have been able to benefit from it, with very contrasting situations: nearly 40% of Brazilians and Argentines were able to receive a first injection, but only 25% of Colombians, 20% of Ecuadorians, 15% of Peruvians and Bolivians and 5% of Guatemalans.

In Brazil, where the number of daily deaths is the highest in the world, less than 15% of the population is fully vaccinated. In Asia, inequalities are also glaring: while just over 20% of Indians have received a first dose, the same is true for only 10 to 15% of Sri Lankans and Indonesians, less than 10% of Filipinos and less. of 5% of Bangladeshis.

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