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).
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.
Starting mid-March 2021, India has become the epicenter of COVID-19 as a second wave of infections devastated the country. India reported 50 percent of global cases and 30 percent of global COVID-19 deaths, and an alarming rate of over 400,000 daily new cases at the height of the wave in early May 2021.
Multiple COVID-19 genetic variants have been detected since the initial SARS-CoV-2 strain was found in China, the most significant of which are classified by the WHO as variants of concern or variants of interest, depending on their attributes and risk level.
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).
Manufacturing projections for Covid-19 vaccines seem to shift on a near-weekly basis. We are not even halfway into 2021 and already we have seen adjustments, both up and down, across all vaccine makers.
The US threw its weight into the ring on the side of the TRIPS waiver this week, surprising many. There is still a long road ahead for the waiver, which much be agreed through discussion and consensus. With vocal opponents (including Germany), this is unlikely to happen before December. But if it does go through and intellectual property (IP) protections are waived, will it make a difference?
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.