President Biden vows to offer 500 Mn more vaccines to emerging nations

U.S. President Joe Biden has pledged to offer 500 million additional dosages of the Pfizer vaccine to developing countries from next year. The announcement was made during a virtual COVID-19 summit held during the UN General Assembly.

The supply of additional vaccines will see the total United States' commitment to vaccine sharing surpass one billion jabs.

According to experts, around 11 billion jabs are required to vaccinate at least 70% of the world's population. Even the World Health Organization has set a minimum of 40% vaccination coverage in every country by the end of this year, although it is unlikely the target will be reached.

Data from the University of Oxford showed that while many high-income nations have already given at least one shot to more than half of their populations, just 2% of individuals in low-income countries have received their first dosage.

WHO’s commitment to inoculating 40% of the world by 2021-end is likely to be viewed with high skepticism from nations who have yet to vaccinate even 2% of their population.

Meanwhile, the United States has committed to supply around 580 million doses but has only provided 160 million so far.

As per credible sources, rich countries could still have 1.2 billion extra doses by the end of the year, even if they launch booster campaigns. At least 241 million of these vaccines could go to waste if not donated.

Covax, a WHO-backed program that helps in the equal distribution of vaccinations, stated that far too many of the donations it receives are either in little amounts, arrived at the last minute, or have little expiry time.

It is worth noting here that the WHO had earlier called on rich countries to hold off on offering booster shots until vaccination rates in lesser developed countries go up.

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By Priya Deshmukh

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