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Less than five months after the first needle entered the first arm to administer the first COVID-19 vaccine to a 90-year-old grandmother in the UK, the world celebrated this weekend the billion-dollar vaccine that blocks coronavirus .
While it’s not clear who received the billion dose, or where it went, the milestone alone is remarkable.
Remarkable, but not enough. Bloomberg reports that the world distributes 18.5 million daily doses of COVID-19 vaccines a day. At this rate, however, it would take 19 months for even 75% of the world to be vaccinated.
Worse, geographical victories in the fight against COVID-19 are strongly aimed at rich countries.
In India, where new daily cases have exceeded 300,000 in one week, only 1.4% of the population has been completely vaccinated, The Washington Post reported. Compare that to the United States, where 25% of adults are fully vaccinated and more than 40% have received at least one dose, while some states and cities reject doses due to lack of demand for shots.
Criticism in the United States and the United Kingdom has accelerated in recent days as world leaders wonder why countries do not share what appears to be an excess of vaccine.
U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan spoke Sunday with Ajit Doval, his counterpart in India. In a statement, NSC spokeswoman Emily Horne said the United States is committed to helping, but not yet with actual vaccine doses.
“The United States works 24 hours a day to deploy available resources and supplies,” Horne said.
Horne told the United States that he is making available “specific raw material” needed for India to manufacture its Covidshield vaccine and that it will supply the country with medicines, test kits, fans and personal protective equipment. The United States will also help India with other materials and pay to expand the manufacturing capacity of BioE, which manufactures the vaccine in India.
But U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-IL, who was born in India, has urged the Biden administration to release the excess vaccines.
“We are currently sitting on about 40 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the US reserve, a reserve we are not using and which we have already opened to fight COVID-19 in Mexico and Canada,” said member Krishnamoorthi. of the House special subcommittee against the coronavirus pandemic, said in a statement on April 24.
The United States sent 4 million doses of vaccine to its northern and southern neighbors in March.
“To curb the spread of this virus internationally and to protect public health and our international economy, we must remove these vaccines now. I respectfully but firmly call on the Biden administration to release millions of doses of AstraZeneca vaccine. in the countries most affected by the spread of COVID-19, including India, Argentina and potentially others. “
Asked about the plan to share unused U.S. vaccines with other countries, Biden did not commit.
“We’re in the process of doing that,” he said Wednesday. “We’ve already done a bit of that. We’re looking at what will be done with some of the vaccines we’re not using. We’ll make sure they’re safe to send. And we hope to be of some help and value to countries of all the world “.
White House: “President Biden’s remarks on COVID-19’s response and vaccination status.”
Twitter.com: @CongressmanRaja, April 24, 2021
The Associated Press: “From Scarcity to Abundance: US Faces Calls to Share Vaccines.”
The Washington Post: “As the pandemic rises again, global envy and anger over the abundance of U.S. vaccines.”
Forbes.com: “1 billion doses of vaccine have been administered worldwide, but mostly in rich countries.”
CNN.com: “Monitoring Covid-19 Vaccinations Worldwide.”
The New York Times: “Monitoring coronavirus vaccines worldwide.”
Our World in Data, Oxford University: “Coronavirus Vaccinations (COVID-19)”.