AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) on Tuesday decried the waste of at least 15 million COVID-19 vaccine doses in the United States this year as “shameful.” AHF calls on the Biden administration and leaders of other wealthy countries with excess vaccine stockpiles to do their due diligence to protect unused doses and ensure unneeded shots get to the most vulnerable countries with little-to-no vaccine access.
According to the Guardian, “At least 15 million doses were scrapped in the U.S. between March and September, according to one analysis of CDC data. A separate investigation found 1 million doses were discarded in 10 states between December and July.”
While more than 3.75 billion people globally (almost half the world’s population) have gotten at least one dose of a vaccine, nearly 80% of those have been administered in wealthy countries. Not even 8% of the 1.3 billion people on the African continent have gotten a shot, and it’s worse in low-income countries, which have only gotten a dose to 2.7% of their populations.
“Shame on us, the United States, for our careless handling of millions of lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines when most of the world is suffering from insufficient access to protect even their most vulnerable citizens and health care workers,” said AHF President Michael Weinstein. “Leaders of the wealthiest countries must do better at not only protecting the doses they have – they must also recognize when doses will not be used and immediately send those to other countries in need. This and other critical aspects of the continuing global vaccine rollout must be the priority at the upcoming G20 Summit in Rome, Italy. World leaders must commit to real action and ensure vaccines reach everyone, not just the people in countries with the fattest bank accounts.”
AHF’s Vaccinate Our World (VOW) call-to-action has ramped up over recent months and is increasing efforts even more in the lead-up to the G20’s Rome Summit starting on October 30. Advocates have protested at the headquarters of vaccine makers Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson to urge them to share their know-how and technologies to increase worldwide production. VOW activists also continue targeting G20 embassies and delegations with dramatic artistic performances and hand-delivered letters to reach world leaders.