Scientists frequently warn about how any delay in mass vaccination against COVID-19 risks the emergence of potentially more dangerous variants.
As of August 2021 data indicates 29.7% of the world population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 15.3% is fully vaccinated 4.4 billion doses have been administered globally, and 40.04 million are now administered each day. Our World in Data. The issue we are facing is 1.1% of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose- a wide and gaping hole for the virus to mutate. The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) in the United Kingdom reported the virus is very likely to evolve into a still more dangerous form. We must be prepared for this outcome, for we are already behind the curve as SARS-CoV-2 is outpacing our response. Question: Apart from the moral imperative, what are the compelling reasons to act sooner than later?
The coronavirus vaccination programs for the world’s richest countries are now in full swing. Almost one-quarter of the UK’s adult population has now had the first dose. The US, while not quite at that pace, has now given at least one dose to more than 35 million people.
But for low-income countries around the globe, the picture is very different—and may be for some time. Many of the world’s poorest are still waiting for the first doses to reach them. Estimates by the Economist Intelligence Unit suggest that some 85 countries in the developing world may not be fully vaccinated until 2023 at the earliest.
Isabel Rodriguez-Barraquer, MD, PhD Assistant Professor, Medicine
Dr. Chris Dickey Director of Global and Environmental Public Health Clinical Associate Professor of Global Health
Dr. Barry Bloom Joan L. and Julius H. Jacobson Research Professor of Public Health Immunology and Infectious Diseases
Judd Walson, MD, MPH Vice Chair of the Department of Global Health and a Professor in the Departments of Global Health, Medicine (Allergy and Infectious Diseases)
Professor Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan Neil Moskowitz Professor of Economics
No economy is an island. Rolling out a vaccine to stop the spread of a global pandemic doesn’t come cheap. Billions of dollars have been spent developing drugs and putting in place a program to get those drugs into people’s arms.
But amid an uneven distribution of vaccines – with poorer countries lagging far behind richer nations – another concern presents itself: the cost of not vaccinating everyone.
Professor Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan Neil Moskowitz Professor of Economics
In the 1970s the fortunes of the world economy, in all its unfathomable complexity, seemed to turn on one product: oil. Exported by a narrow clique of countries, this vital input was hostage to ferocious political forces. Today the world’s economic prospects similarly depend on another all-important input, vaccines, which are also narrowly produced, delicately political—and unevenly distributed. Widespread vaccination is helping America to boom. But delays in buying, making and deploying shots have left much of the world vulnerable to new virus outbreaks and economic setbacks.
M. Ayhan Kose Chief Economist and Director of the Prospects Grou
Michael Spencer APAC Chief Economist
Elvira Nabiullina Governor Central Bank of Russia
According to a recent analysis of C.D.C. data by Kaiser Health News, only twenty-two per cent of Black Americans have been vaccinated, and Black vaccination rates are significantly lower than those of whites in almost every state. Much of what has been called vaccine hesitancy is actually a problem of vaccine access.
As it turns out, vaccine distribution follows a similar socioeconomic pattern all over the world, with most covid vaccines going to what is called high- and middle-income countries. This is a social-economic disparity pure. There are two reasons that a person in London or Los Angeles should care about vaccination rates in Lagos or São Paulo: simple humanity and simple biology. If left unchecked, the loss of human life for families and societies worldwide will be staggering.
Gregg Gonsalves, PhD Associate Professor of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases)
Aris Katzourakis Professor of Evolution and Genomics
Anthony Fauci Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Christopher Elias President, Global Development
Asia Russell Executive Director
Ambassador Katherine Tai Principal Trade Advisor, Negotiator, Spokesperson on U.S. Trade Policy
Jennifer Walton Vice President, U.S. Government Relations
Stéphane Bancel CEO, Moderna
India is the world’s largest supplier of vaccines but the government suspended the export of all COVID-19 vaccines after a devastating outbreak this spring. This is just the latest reason why global health leaders are calling for a new, decentralized approach to vaccine manufacturing across the globe In this episode, the conversation will focus on the challenges facing developing nations when it comes to vaccines; how life-saving technology like mRNA vaccines could be rolled out globally; and why it’ll take a generational investment to make sure the developing world is prepared for the next pandemic.
Céline Gounder, MD, ScM, FIDSA Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, host of the Epidemic podcast
Dr. John N. Nkengasong, MSc, PhD Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention
James Krellenstein PrEP4All Co-Founder & Managing Director, Strategy & Policy
Chelsea Clinton, DPhil, MPH Vice Chair, Clinton Foundation
Peter Hotez MD, PhD Scientist, Researcher, Author, Science Explainer
Vaccines are helping some countries return to a semblance of normalcy, while much of the world remains vulnerable to covid-19. We explore what’s next for the pandemic at this critical juncture. Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist at the World Health Organisation, says solidarity has been lacking and is crucial for a successful global response.
Dr Soumya Swaminathan Chief Scientist
Alok Jha Science correspondent, host of 'The Jab' podcast
Natasha Loder Health Policy Editor, host of 'The Jab' podcast
A pandemic by definition is a threat to global public health, and yet when it comes to the production and distribution of vaccines, the world is reacting with national, not international, priorities in mind. Aside from the moral hazard of an approach based on every country for itself, there are compelling public health, economic, and political reasons for adopting a global view of the problem and solution.
Peter Hotez, MD, PhD Scientist, Researcher, Author, Science Explainer
Kate O'Brien Director, Department Of Immunization, Vaccines And Biologicals, World Health Organization
Muhammad Ali Pate Global Director, Health, Nutrition and Population (HNP) Global Practice of the World Bank
Aaron David Miller Senior Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace