While the COVID-19 booster vaccines are given in the United States and other rich countries, the vast majority of people in poor countries have not received their first dose, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Vaccine makers say they make enough for everyone. The problem, say public health officials and industry experts, is that too many doses are still destined for high-income countries, not being used instead of going to where they are most needed.
A Reuters census indicated, last Friday, that the number of deaths due to Covid-19 worldwide exceeded five million, with the Delta strain causing an increase in deaths, especially among those who were not vaccinated.
According to a Reuters analysis, it took nearly a year for the number of Covid-19 deaths to reach 2.5 million, while the next 2.5 million deaths were recorded within 236 days.
Manufacturers worldwide are now producing about 1.5 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines per month, and are on track to produce a total of 12 billion doses by the end of the year, according to the International Federation of Manufacturers and Pharmaceutical Associations.
By June, the total production of Covid-19 vaccines had doubled to 24 billion doses, according to the Wall Street Journal.
That’s more than double the 11 billion doses that the World Health Organization says are needed to vaccinate 70 percent of the world’s population with a two-dose regimen, according to the newspaper.
World leaders said at a summit hosted by US President Joe Biden last month that they aim to achieve this goal in every country on earth by next September.
Despite the seemingly encouraging numbers, public health officials, activists and supply chain experts warn that many poor countries are still struggling to secure doses for even their most vulnerable citizens.
So far, rich countries have provided about 10 percent of the roughly 1.7 billion doses they pledged to share with lower- and lower-middle-income countries by next September, according to figures drawn from the University of Oxford’s Our World in Data project. .
According to Our World in Data, more than half of the world’s population has so far only received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“The producers either make the vaccine and hide it or they sell it to someone else who is hiding it, and if they don’t make a billion and a half doses, let us know,” said Bruce Aylward, senior advisor to WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus.
Currently, 2.3 percent of people in low-income countries have received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, according to the Oxford University Project.
The temporary goal set by the World Health Organization to vaccinate at least 40 percent of the population in developing countries by the end of 2021 appears out of reach for many, according to the newspaper.