Fortune News | Mar 16,2019
Jul 10 , 2021
By Jeffrey D. Sachs , Juliana Bartels
When G20 finance ministers meet in Venice on July 9 and 10, they should adopt a plan to immunise the world against COVID-19. Every vaccine-producing country will be in the room: the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, China, Russia, and India. Together, these countries produce enough doses to complete the immunisation process for the entire globe by early 2022. Yet the world still lacks a plan to get it done.
The existing global effort to bring vaccine coverage to poor countries, known as the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) facility, has fallen disastrously short of what is needed. Vaccine-producing countries have used their output to vaccinate their own populations – with many millions of doses to spare. And vaccine-producing companies have made secret deals with governments to sell vaccines bilaterally rather than through COVAX at a lower cost.
The world is plagued by the selfishness of the vaccine-producing countries, the greed of the companies, and the collapse of basic cooperative governance between the world’s major regions. We doubt that experts from the US government have ever met (even by Zoom) with their counterparts in China and Russia to plan a global vaccine campaign. The US has been more interested in shipping vaccines to Taiwan, presumably to embarrass China, than to work with China to protect the entire world.
Scientists have been sounding the alarm that delay in global vaccine coverage could prove devastating for the entire world, as new variants arise that evade the existing vaccines. That ominous breakout is already underway. Israeli scientists have reported that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is only 64pc effective against the Delta variant, compared to 95pc effective against the original virus (though four other studies found significantly higher efficacy).
The good news is that comprehensive global vaccine coverage is feasible. Global production levels are now high enough to reach comprehensive coverage for the adult population in every country within a few months. What we need now are plans to share vaccine doses among countries worldwide, rich and poor alike, supported by logistics and financing. None of this is out of reach if the G20’s members finally start planning seriously.
Shockingly, there are no systematic, comprehensive, and up-to-date official figures on expected monthly vaccine production according to producing company and country. We have based our estimates of likely vaccine production in the coming months on the actual doses delivered and each company’s announcements, mainly in statements to investors for press releases. From this projection, we have devised a preliminary timeline to achieve a high level of global vaccine coverage. The failure of COVAX, the World Health Organisation (WHO), the G20, and the vaccine-producing countries to do the same amounts to a dramatic breakdown of global cooperation.
Our estimate is the following. Monthly production by all companies producing COVID-19 vaccines that have received emergency use listing by the WHO and national regulatory authorities, and that are being widely administered between July and December 2021, will average around one billion doses.
The world’s population is 7.8 billion, and 5.8 billion are 15 or older. If we define comprehensive immunisation as 80pc coverage of the adult (15 and older) population in each country, the world should be aiming to immunise 4.6 billion individuals.
As of June 30, about 850 million people have been fully immunised, and about 950 million more have received the first dose of the vaccine. To achieve 80pc adult vaccination coverage globally, around six billion additional doses will be required.
We have made a preliminary spreadsheet model showing that with about one billion vaccine doses delivered each month and approximately six billion doses required, we can achieve comprehensive vaccine coverage in about six months – by early 2022. The precise numbers depend on the specific combination of vaccines. But that will happen only if there is a global plan that includes a timetable to allocate the doses across all countries, a logistical plan to transport the vaccines, an implementation plan within every country, and a financing plan.
The situation is especially urgent in Africa, where only about 16 million people, or just two percent of the adult population, were fully immunised by June 30. This is incredibly low, especially compared with full vaccination rates of 17pc of the worldwide adult population outside of Africa, and far higher rates in the vaccine-producing countries: 57pc of the adult population in the US, 59pc in the UK, 40pc in the EU, 15pc in Russia, and six percent in India as of June 30, and 19pc in China as of June 10.
There are enormous global risks. The Delta variant is now surging through Africa, auguring a monumental catastrophe unless immunisation coverage is dramatically accelerated. The Africa Task Force of the Lancet COVID-19 Commission has issued an urgent appeal for 300 million vaccine doses for Africa.
Moreover, new variants with a greater ability to evade the existing vaccines may soon emerge. And the global anti-vax movement and disinformation campaigns have spurred vaccine hesitancy, which means that even when doses are available, uptake falls well below comprehensive adult coverage.
In short, we are still profoundly unsafe – everywhere. The four million confirmed COVID-19 deaths to date (excess death figures indicate that actual deaths are probably many times higher) are the tragic result of the world’s failure to respond to COVID-19 with clarity, cooperation, and compassion. The G7 pledge last month to donate 870 million doses, enough to immunise around 435 million people fully, remains far short of a global plan.
It is imperative that the G20 come together and act to provide the needed vaccines. The world’s health depends on what happens in Venice this week.
PUBLISHED ON Jul 10,2021 [ VOL 22 , NO 1106]
Fortune News | Mar 16,2019
Viewpoints | Jun 19,2021
Editorial | Mar 14,2020
My Opinion | Jun 13,2020
Radar | Jun 25,2022
Radar | Sep 10,2021
Radar | Sep 24,2022
My Opinion | Jul 27,2019
Radar | Apr 16,2022
Sunday with Eden | Jan 18,2019
Photo Gallery | 91507 Views | May 06,2019
Photo Gallery | 83774 Views | Apr 26,2019
Commentaries | 65386 Views | Oct 02,2021
My Opinion | 65313 Views | Aug 14,2021
Commentaries | Feb 24,2024
Life Matters | Feb 24,2024
My Opinion | Feb 24,2024
Sunday with Eden | Feb 24,2024
Agenda | Feb 24,2024
Editorial | Feb 24,2024
Feb 10 , 2024 . By MUNIR SHEMSU
In his last week's address to Parliament, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) painted a p...
Jan 7 , 2024
In the realm of international finance and diplomacy, few cities hold the distinction...
Sep 30 , 2023 . By AKSAH ITALO
On a chilly morning outside Ke'Geberew Market, Yeshi Chane, a 35-year-old mother cradling her seven-month-old baby, stands amidst the throng...
Dec 24 , 2022
Biniam Mikru heads the department of cabinet affairs under Mayor Adanech Abiebie. But he also has the unf...
Every country is eager to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) – and for good re...
Leaders of the National Election Board are in a charm offensive mood, of a sort. Last week, they organised a rare tour for members of the me...
When the country's most senior diplomats and envoys return back to their posts after two-week debriefings, they leave behind a point or two...
Feb 24 , 2024
The recent policy pronouncement by the Transport Minister, Alemu Sime (PhD), of a pla...
Feb 17 , 2024
In the vast auditoriums of Addis Abeba, far from the era when flamboyant figures like...
Feb 10 , 2024
In a last week session before Parliament, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) was seen ad...
In a world increasingly attuned to the nuances of data reliability and its implicatio...
During a work deployment abroad five years ago, I encountered a woman whose frailty w...
I am greeted by the sight of numerous women lining the streets upon returning home from work each day. Their offerings range from fresh prod...
Feb 24 , 2024
The once-booming real estate market faces a downturn, with developers struggling with declining demand and falling prices. Developers see de...
Feb 24 , 2024 . By BERSABEH GEBRE
A crisis looms over the fertile lands of Gambella and Benishangul Gumuz regional states, where the future of commercial farming was once in...
Feb 24 , 2024 . By BERSABEH GEBRE
A major initiative by the Addis Abeba City Administration targeting food inflation and improving accessib...
Feb 24 , 2024 . By AKSAH ITALO
A concerning picture of public health safety was painted by the Ethiopian Food & Drug Authority (EFDA...