I am starting to see more and more articles online decrying how terrible rich countries are, and how we won’t help the less wealthy countries with vaccine supply.
Challenged a few people on FB as they seem to conveniently ignore the timelines.
The developed world (US/UK/Europe) was hit hardest by the first few waves (March 2020 - Jan 2021) At that point, R&D produced some viable vaccines which were not approved until Dec 2020 (as they had to undergo clinical trials). The less developed world had at that point in time lost far less people to the Pandemic and also had far lower infection & hospitalisation counts.
Once the vaccines started being produced, we have been innoculating the at risk groups. This action, when combined with lockdowns, has had a significant dampening effect on the Pandemic in the developed countries.
Problem is, we do not have any excess vaccine capacity in the UK/EU now (May 2021), just when the Pandemic is going out of control in the less developed countries (who seem to have gotten too complacent). The US seems to be the only country who has some degree of excess vaccine supply now.
So, the moral now is:
Do we vaccinate all of our own first (kids included), or slow the vaccinations for the non-at risk groups, so that more vaccines get sent to the at risk groups in the less developed countries?
The pandemic isn’t over until most of the world is vaccinated. That said, I have no issue with the US approach of securing vaccines for all its citizens first — while kids don’t die much, there is long covid risk for them, and even if they are just asymptomatic, they could produce variants.
That said, we should probably be releasing all the AZ vaccine we have, which is so far behind in approval that it might as well be used elsewhere. I think that process has started, but we should do it ASAP.
By what definition does the UK not have excess vaccine capacity? In comparison to the planned vaccine rollout? I got vaccinated through my GP last week and I am far from an at risk group.
Covid levels are low in the UK and so the vaccination programme could slow down to send vaccines to countries where covid levels are high. This would reduce the risk of a vaccine resistant variant emerging and so is in the interest of the UK.
We only have enough actual vaccines to give shots to the UK population.
As many countries have found out, just because you have 100 millions of doses “on order”, does not mean that 100 million will be delivered.
The UK will not produce enough vaccines domestically till 2022 (there are several plants coming online then), so the supply we have now is really all we are going to get given that the India pipeline is closed off (the Serum Institute there was going to supply the UK with the AZ vaccine as well).
But do we need to vaccinate the whole population before 2022? By doing so, are we running the risk that the whole endeavour is wasted because we didn’t help a country bring covid under control and a vaccine resistant strain came into being? Would we be better off in the long run with stricter border controls and passing on more of our vaccines to the likes of India?
These are not easy questions to answer,
Do we use a vaccine that hasn’t been fully vetted?