2021 Revealed global vaccine inequality depth
While rich countries raised doses, Covax, a joint venture of several UN agencies set up to give vaccines to poor countries, had the right to be a knight in clear armor. Dreamed at the start of 2020 by Gates-funded two-profit leaders over scotch and nachos, Covax had a raison d'etre for promising equal access to vaccines for all countries and preventing the a real situation the world is in right now. And at the start of the year, the plans looked rosy: More than 190 countries had signed up to give and receive vaccine doses during the campaign.
Then things started to go wrong. The main provider of the initiative, the Serum Institute in India, which manufactures the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines, could not deliver on their promises; things were skyrocketing at home in March 2021, forcing a halt to exports. It has been negotiated with vaccine manufacturers such as Moderna and Pfizer to pull doses sold to Covax. Covax officials had to deliver on their goal of 2 billion doses from this year to 2022. Despite the initial promises, Covax expects to miss its target for 2021 by nearly a third.
But some believe that Covax was never going to achieve the lofty goal. According to Venkatapuram, in early 2021, Covax officials were issuing PR statements to hide what was going on behind the scenes. “They used the communication to fundamentally speak to the leaders of rich and wealthy countries, and to try to get them to come together and cooperate, while not giving us a very good indication of the kind of fragile situation. in which we were, ”he said.
A spokesman for Gavi, the nonprofit in charge of Covax, challenged this designation, telling WIRED by email “despite steady shifts in regulatory timelines, doses to be met and, among other things, Covax has always maintained regular contact with inclusive economies regarding changes in the delivery of volumes, schedules, and timelines. ”(The organization does not normally release the names of speakers.)
With the failure of vaccine shipping, ambassadors of vaccinated poor countries were pressing Covax hard to find out when to expect their allotment. Rahman says that she and her colleagues questioned Covax's heads: When did vaccines come in, say, Senegal? And, she recalls, they would respond with something like: "There are many moving parts." "I've started to downplay this phrase of 'there are a lot of moving parts,' because for me it means they don't know what's going on," she said.
Rahman feels that those in charge of Covax were not coordinating with the authorities in the very countries they were trying to send vaccines to. In fact, because they did not consult enough, many poor countries have had to throw away thousands of doses for the lack of infrastructure needed to store and transport them. If they had communicated properly with local authorities on the ground in these countries, this could have been avoided, Rahman said. "It's just kind of a browser group, unorganized in terms of native knowledge."