The U.S., British, E.U. and Canadian governments all have pre-purchased enough COVID vaccine doses to inoculate their populations many times over while vaccine access in the rest of the world remains limited
WASHINGTON (March 10, 2021) AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) warned today that the U.S. government and its British, European and Canadian partners risk undermining the global fight to control the COVID-19 pandemic with their vaccine hoarding practices.
“The fight to control the COVID-19 pandemic won’t be over until it is over everywhere. By insisting on vaccinating all their residents first before they start releasing doses to other low- and middle-income countries, rich countries may be harming the global fight against the COVID-19 coronavirus,” said Tom Myers, general counsel and chief of public affairs for AHF.
According to a New York Times analysis (NYT: With First Dibs on Vaccines, Rich Countries Have ‘Cleared the Shelves’ December 15, 2020), the United States has pre-purchased enough vaccine supplies to vaccinate its population four times over. The U.S. is not alone. The United Kingdom has pre-purchased enough vaccines to inoculate its population four times over, the European Union two times over and Canada six times over. Published reports suggest the U.S. has secured 800 million doses from six different drug companies (Al Jazeera: ‘What is ‘vaccine nationalism’ and why is it so harmful?’ 2/7/21) Politico reported the American government just inked a deal for another 100 million doses (Politico: ‘Biden to order 100 million more doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine’ 3/10/21)
“Wealthy countries’ purchasing power is ‘emptying the shelves’ of vaccine for low- and middle-income countries that depend on international aid and purchasing pools organized by international organizations. We’re delighted that the U.S. government has pledged $4 billion to help low-income countries buy vaccines. But that won’t do much good, if no vaccines are available,” added Myers. “This isn’t an ‘either-or’ but a ‘both-and’ proposition for vaccine access. Vaccine nationalism is unacceptable and immoral. We can and should take care of our own and low- and middle-income countries at the same time.”
Vaccine hoarding by wealthy nations is drawing wider public criticism, as seen in a related article published in today’s Washington Post: E.U. denies vaccine nationalism charge, accuses U.S. and U.K. of not sharing 3/10/21.