According to Our World in Data, 1.78B people are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 across the world. About 16% of the fully vaccinated (289M people) live in the US, which has a very high rate of vaccination, especially compared to neighboring countries in Latin America.
The G20 met today in Rome for a Global Health Summit and vaccine equity was at the top of the agenda. According to Reuters, the resulting “Rome Declaration” calls for voluntary licensing and technology transfers to increase production of Covid-19 vaccines globally. The declaration also reportedly mentioned the important role of the ACT-Accelerator (of which COVAX is one pillar) but did not commit to funding it (the ACT-Accelerator still needs $19 billion to reach its goal).
There is a lot of ground to cover this week. The pandemic continues to rage throughout the world, with countries in South Asia and Latin America battling the worst surges. India has set new world records for daily infections and deaths, while eschewing a nation-wide lockdown and struggling to implement a mass vaccination campaign with limited supply.
Launched as a global cross-organization collaboration only one month after the pandemic was declared, COVAX was built to facilitate global equity in the pandemic response. As COVAX passes the one-year mark this month, there are some early lessons and insights that can inform its further development and help us prepare for future crises.
While the vast majority of Covid-19 purchases have been through the public sector, we have also seen some private sector deals. This appears to be increasing recently, as governments are partnering with private sector health providers to widen the reach of their vaccine rollouts.
There were two significant developments this week that are great news for Covid-19 vaccine equity. To be clear, the picture is still bleak: rich countries hold more than half of the vaccine purchased and don’t want to share until they’ve had their fill.