The shortfall in Covid vaccine doses going to the Covax vaccine-sharing scheme is deeply worrying, and highlights a massive flaw in the plans to provide vaccines to developing countries (Revealed: big shortfall in Covax Covid vaccine-sharing scheme, 22 April).
While Covax’s target of vaccinating just 20% of people in developing countries by the end of the year was already far from sufficient, it is now a long way off even meeting the May target of distributing 187.2m doses.
The fundamental problem is inadequate supply, which can only be solved by maximising global production. This would require vaccine manufacturers to share the vaccine technology and knowhow with other qualified manufacturers around the world.
More than 100 low- and middle-income countries have called for the waiving of relevant intellectual property rules during the pandemic to allow this to happen. They are supported by more than 175 former world leaders and Nobel prize winners and nearly 2 million activists worldwide, demanding a people’s vaccine. However, this proposal is currently being blocked at the World Trade Organization by the UK and US governments, as well as the EU.
As talks resume at the WTO, surely it is time for leaders to stop putting pharmaceutical company profits before people’s lives.
Dr Mohga Kamal-Yanni
Senior health policy adviser, People’s Vaccine Alliance
I have been reading, with mounting horror, about the tragic situation caused by Covid in India. Of course the UK and other countries, who have bought more vaccines than they need, should be sending surplus vaccines to India and other countries.
But why, as we watch scenes of a health system breaking down and people suffering and dying in startlingly large numbers, are we not talking about doing more?
Surely there should already be planeloads of oxygen cylinders, drugs, ventilators, PPE and maybe even doctors and nurses already landing on Indian runways? I keep waiting to hear that this has happened. What is wrong with us? Along with the vaccines, have we been inoculated against compassion?
Milland, West Sussex