Rich countries corner nearly 51% supply of five major COVID-19 vaccine candidates: Oxfam

According to a recent study by Oxfam International, wealthy nations, which account for nearly 13% of the global population, have cornered a lion’s share of supply deals for vaccine candidates in phase-3 of the clinical trials

September 17, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch
oxfam COVID vaccine supply report

A recent study has found that a group of wealthy nations have already cornered over half the supply deals for the various COVID-19 vaccine candidates. In a statement on September 17, Thursday, Oxfam International released the details of a study it conducted on the deals struck by producers of the five most promising COVID-19 vaccine candidates so far. The findings of the study were released on the day that health and finance ministers of the G-20 nation-states were meeting to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic.

The study analyzed deals made on five vaccine candidates being developed by AstraZeneca, Gamaleya/Sputnik, Moderna, Pfizer, and Sinovac, which have reached the third phase of clinical trials. The combined total promised supply of these candidate vaccines is around 5.94 billion doses, of which deals have been made for over 5.3 billion doses.

Of the total, deals worth 2.73 billion doses have been struck by producers to sell or offer supply to countries like the US, UK, Japan, Australia, Israel and European Union countries like Switzerland. This amounts to nearly 51% of the vaccine doses going to nations that overall account for only 13% of the global population.

The rest of the 2.57 billion doses will be distributed among the large populous developing countries like India, China, Brazil, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Mexico, among others. The report stated that the UK has acquired the most per capita doses through such deals, five doses per person, while Bangladesh got the least with only one dose for every nine people. 

The trend is not the same among all the suppliers. Moderna, for instance, has only struck deals with wealthy nations and intends to make a profit out of the vaccine, despite receiving funding commitments to the tune of USD 2.5 billion from the US government.

Meanwhile, the UK-based AstraZeneca has pledged around two-thirds of its promised vaccine supply to developing nations, which includes over 300 million doses pledged to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) vaccine pooling initiative.

Health activists around the globe have raised concerns about rich nations cornering the vaccine supply at the cost of poorer countries. According to Oxfam, even in the highly unlikely case of all five vaccine candidates in phase-3 trials turning out to be successful, it will still not be enough to vaccinate even half the world.