COVID-19 vaccination drives in India, China to stretch till late 2022; Study

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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A recent study has revealed that COVID-19 vaccination programs in China and India could stretch till late 2022 due to the higher population. The report also emphasizes that 85+ poor countries across the globe will not have widespread access to vaccines before 2023.

Even though the rapid development and approvals of COVID-19 vaccines hinted at a swift vaccination process and a quicker end to the coronavirus pandemic, production issues and large bilateral deals between wealthy countries and drug makers have raised concerns about unequal distribution.

Earlier this week, U.S. President Joe Biden had shared that America is striving to secure an additional volume of 200 million doses Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine by summer.

The European Union, which is already impacted severely by the production and supply delays of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, is expected to restrict COVID-19 vaccine exports to ensure capacity for its vaccination drives.

Sharing his insights on the on-going battle among rich nations to secure the COVID-19 vaccine and its impact on lesser privileged countries, Agathe Demarais, Director of the Economist Intelligence Unit, the research division of the Economist Group remarked that “Most developing countries will not have widespread access to the shots before 2023 at the earliest.”

“Some of these countries, particularly poorer ones with a young demographic profile, may well lose the motivation to distribute vaccines, especially if the disease has spread widely or if the associated costs prove too high,” Ms. Demarais remarked.

While numerous countries like Africa are not expected to get widespread vaccination coverage until early 2023, many Asian countries will have broad access to vaccines by late 2022.

COVAX Initiative 

The World Health Organization-backed COVAX initiative is often the only resort to underprivileged countries to have any sort of access to COVID-19 vaccines. The delay of production, as well as the weak infrastructure in the developing world, is also another challenge for the swift vaccination drives in these countries.

COVAX is expected to supply 1.8 billion doses to 92 poorer countries in 2021, sufficient enough to vaccinate just 27 percent of the population in those countries.