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More Covid jabs stockpiled than needed as poorer nations fall behind – ‘A disconnect’

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Boris Johnson praises UK’s COVAX contribution

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The globe’s largest vaccine manufacturer issued a stark warning stating stocks of Covid jabs may go out of date as demand has dipped below supply. Adar Poonawalla, chief executive of the Serum Institute of India, has claimed new arising issues such as distribution and infrastructure as well as significant global vaccine hesitancy is playing a key role in preventing worldwide vaccination, according to the Times. 

Mr Poonawalla said: “It’s a combination of vaccine hesitancy and nations not coming forward and placing orders in the way in which they claim they would, particularly the African nations. 

“I’m happy to say that on record and I hope they read it because maybe they’ll get activated and do something about it.

“Everywhere I hear the World Health Organisation and others talking about vaccine inequality, but the African nations are refusing to place orders. 

“We’ve barely got 20 million doses worth of orders from the African nations. 

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“They’re going very slow, claiming that they’re waiting for donations from the US and other reasons. So there’s a bit of a disconnect.”

COVAX, co-led by CEPI, Gavi and WHO, is a worldwide initiative aimed at providing coronavirus vaccines to poorer nations.

The programme began distributing vaccines in February 2021 with a goal of delivering 100 million doses by the end of March, but did not achieve this until July.

COVAX’s new promise is to supply 1.4 billion doses, but according to reports, mid- and low-income countries require 4.65 billion to vaccinate 70 percent of their populations.

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It comes as Tony Blair, writing for The Sunday Times, said: “For much of the crisis, the wealthy part of the world was shamefully slow at providing vaccines for the less developed nations and it is right to question the unmet commitments of western governments and ad hoc donations of near-expired vaccines. 

“But supply is no longer the most critical challenge. 

“Instead, it’s the ability to get vaccines into people’s arms — so-called absorption capacity. 

“There is stark evidence of this across the continent.”

Professor Adam Finn, who sits on the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation, agreed. 

He stated: “The debate until now has been about who has all the doses.

“But we’re soon reaching the point where there is no longer a shortage of vaccines. 

“Instead, they just haven’t been given. Having doses sitting in a warehouse doesn’t solve any problems. 

“In Britain we have the infrastructure for mass rollout, but a lot of countries are not able to mobilise. 

“We’ve got to think beyond just supplying doses, and start thinking about how we actually give them to populations who need them.”

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