WHO: Rich countries are likely to hoard Covid-19 vaccine

Stocking up the Covid-19 vaccine will affect global supplies.

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, GENEVA – World Health Organization (WHO) Rich countries could start stocking up on COVID-19 vaccines again. This could threaten the global vaccine supply as the world tries to shore up vaccine supplies to fight the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

Reported by Reuters, On Thursday (December 9th), the WHO Director for Immunization, Kate O’Brien, issued a warning that supplies for the WHO-run vaccine-sharing programs COVAX and GAVI have increased in recent months. The spillage was due to donations from rich countries and after India eased restrictions on vaccine exports. The move from New Delhi enables the Serum Institute of India to resume shipments of the AstraZeneca vaccine it produces, particularly for COVAX.

“We have to make sure (more deliveries) continue,” O’Brien said at a press conference.

“When we face Omicron, no matter what, there is a risk that global shipments will decline to high-income countries that are storing vaccines to protect their ability to vaccinate citizens,” he continued.

Earlier, O’Brien said the main problem for COVAX is that rich countries donate COVID-19 vaccines with near expiration dates, noting that waste rates are also high in a number of rich countries. The COVAX program has distributed 610 million doses of vaccine to 144 countries or regions since February, according to the GAVI website.

Source: Between