MONROVIA, LIBERIA-Less than two-percent of adults have been fully vaccinated in most low and middle income countries, majority of which are in Africa compared to almost 50-percent in high income countries.
The World Bank says this slow pace will obstruct the global goals of 10-percent coverage in all countries by September, 40-percent by the end of 2021.
In a release issued recently, the World Bank also revealed that the slow pace of COVID-19 vaccines rollup in Africa will defeat the Africa Union’s goal of vaccinating 70-percent of the Continent’s population by 2022.
The World Bank’s vaccines statistics were contained in the Multilateral Leaders Taskforce (MLT) on COVID-19 (MLT) statement released at its third meeting in Washington, DC recently.
The MLT comprises heads of the International Monetary Fund, World Bank Group, World Health Organization and World Trade Organization.
According to the World Bank, the Group met with the leaders of the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT), Africa CDC, Gavi and UNICEF to tackle obstacles to rapidly scale-up vaccines in low- and lower middle-income countries, particularly in Africa.
The release identifies the lack of access to sufficient vaccine as major reason hindering the goals set in the COVID-19 vaccines rollout in mostly African countries.
The release further said that the crisis of vaccine inequity is driving a dangerous divergence in COVID-19 survival rates, and in the global economy.
The MLT on COVID-19 lauded the important work of AVAT and COVAX in trying to address the unacceptable situation.
The release quotes the World Bank as calling for urgent cooperation of vaccine manufacturers, vaccine-producing countries, and countries that have already achieved high vaccination rates to effectively tackle the acute vaccine supply shortage in low- and lower middle-income countries.
The release said to ensure all countries achieve the global goals of at least 10% coverage by September and 40% by end-2021, the Group calls on countries that have contracted high volumes of vaccines to swap near-term delivery schedules with COVAX and AVAT.
It called on vaccine manufacturers to immediately prioritize and fulfill their contracts to COVAX and AVAT, and to provide regular, clear supply forecasts.
It is urging G7 countries and all dose-sharing countries to fulfill their pledges urgently, with enhanced pipeline visibility, product shelf life and support for ancillary supplies, as barely 10% of nearly 900 million committed doses have so far been shipped.
The Multilateral Leaders Taskforce on COVID-19 wants all countries to eliminate export restrictions and any other trade barriers on COVID-19 vaccines, and the inputs involved in their production.