Taking a closer look a vaccine donations

Friday, July 2, 2021
Weekly COVID Vaccine Research Update

High-income country confirmed dose total: 6.2 billion
Upper-middle-income country total: 2.3 billion
Lower-middle-income country total: 1.8 billion
Low-income country total: 271 million
COVAX total: 2.4 billion
Total worldwide confirmed purchases of Covid-19 vaccines:

12.9 billion doses


Taking a closer look at vaccine donations

Author: Andrea Taylor

We are excited to release new data this week, tracking vaccine donations by donor country, recipient (cut by continent and income category), and vaccine. Our data include doses that have been pledged, regardless of whether they have already been delivered. The interactive visualizations show which countries are the big donors, which vaccines are being donated, and where they are going. Using publicly available sources, we can account for nearly 900 million doses in pledged or delivered dose donations globally. While this is a staggering amount, it is a far cry from meeting the need described by the WHO and African Union.

The Sankey diagram allows you to change the variables in the dropdown menus on the right and left to cut the data different ways. No matter how you cut the data, one thing stands out: the US donations (587.5 million doses) dwarf those from all other countries. Including the US in the charts makes most other donating countries so small by comparison that they hardly show up. In the Sankey diagram, we divide the US donation total in half so that the flow of donations from other countries (all shown at 100%) can be seen and even then, it is difficult to see more than the top eight.

After the US, the next largest donor is the UK with 100 million pledged doses, followed by Japan, France, Germany, and China, all around the 30 million dose mark.  The top ten list of donors (by number of doses) include two middle-income countries. China (upper-middle income) has donated vaccine to the highest number of countries (our data shows 59, but other sources have suggested 80), primarily located in Africa and Asia. However, these tend to be small donations, with most donations around 200,000 doses per country and only three countries receiving more than 1 million doses. India (lower-middle income) has taken a similar approach, donating more than 11 million doses in relatively small numbers to 47 countries, with only a few countries receiving more than 1 million doses.

High income countries have donated the vast majority of the doses, and most of that has gone to COVAX. However, aside from the US, other high-income countries have donated a total of only 254 million doses, compared with 42.5 million donated by middle income governments. To be fair, many wealthy countries have donated funding to COVAX to support the purchase of vaccines for poor countries, and that is not reflected in our donations chart.

But the global purchase data indicate that a small number of wealthy countries have the lion’s share of vaccine so donating actual doses in hand (from national supplies) right now can be more helpful than donating cash to purchase doses that won’t be stocked until later in 2022. As the African Union special envoy for vaccines noted this week, no doses have actually shipped out from European manufacturing lines to Africa and, in the wake of a third wave of infections unlike anything the continent has seen, pledges no longer matter, only doses arriving at airports.

Looking by region, Asia is meant to receive the highest number (58 million doses), followed by Africa (20 million doses). COVAX is receiving more doses by far than any region, at 700 million doses. The US purchase of 500 million Pfizer-BioNTech doses for donation through COVAX means that the vast majority of donated doses are Pfizer-BioNTech. But after this, the second-most donated vaccine is Oxford-AstraZeneca, followed by Sinopharm-Beijing.

In the coming weeks, we plan to build out the donations data with further layers of detail, distinguishing between doses pledged and doses delivered, doses expected to ship out in 2021 versus 2022, and doses donated from COVAX country allocations. Please let us know how this data can be most useful to you and, as always, help us fill in gaps and correct mistakes.

For more information on our research on Covid-19 vaccine supply, please see https://launchandscalefaster.org/COVID-19.