As we and a coalition of over 100 leaders and organizations called for, President Biden hosted a Global COVID-19 Summit on Wednesday. With participation of world leaders mostly virtually, the Summit covered familiar ground as well as some new territory.
Cuba has become the leader of COVID-19 vaccine development in Latin America – producing a total of five vaccine candidates so far, four of which are awaiting submission to WHO’s Emergency Use Listing Procedure (EUL).
The past 18 months have shown us what happens when we rely on fragmented responses to a pandemic – the result is an uncoordinated patchwork of insufficient approaches and the continued spread of an ever-mutating virus. It sounds obvious but still needs to be said: pandemics are global and our response must be as well.
The US has continued to advance plans for boosters since we wrote about the issue earlier this month, with an announcement that a third dose will be offered to all residents (not just the highly vulnerable), eight months after the second dose.
Despite the shortage of Covid-19 vaccines globally, millions of doses are being wasted rather than used. Vaccine wastage is defined as vaccines discarded, lost, damaged or destroyed according to the WHO.
While businesses return to full capacity and mask mandates are lifted in much of the US and several other countries with relatively high vaccination rates, there is growing concern about the impact from the rapidly spreading COVID-19 delta variant.
Of the 3.5 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses that have been administered globally, only about 69 percent of the doses have been administered in low and middle income countries (LMICs) with 84 percent of the world’s population. Wealthy nations’ over-purchasing of the limited vaccine supply left LMIC nations without access to COVID-19 vaccine doses.
Many countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America have yet to receive the vaccines necessary to slow the spread of Covid-19 despite recent purchase and donation agreements. In recent weeks, large scale donations of Covid-19 vaccines have made headlines as the US and EU promised to send hundreds of millions of doses to low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).