G7 nations urged to donate vaccines as India’s covid crisis hits Covax vaccine sharing scheme

The international scheme COVAX, run jointly by the WHO and the GAVI vaccine alliance, to ensure equal access to Covid-19 vaccines is facing shortfall due to India’s continuing Covid crisis.

The UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore on Monday asked G7 countries to donate supplies to the COVAX vaccine-sharing scheme as an emergency measure to address a severe shortfall caused by disruption to Indian vaccine exports.

”The COVAX Facility – the global COVID vaccine equity scheme – will deliver its 65 millionth dose in the coming days. It should have been at least its 170 millionth. By the time G7 leaders gather in the UK next month, and as a deadly second wave of COVID-19 will likely continue to sweep across India and many of its South Asian neighbours, the shortfall will near 190 million doses,” she said.

Shortfall numbers are based on delays related to shipments from the Serum Institute of India (SII), the largest single supplies to the Covax scheme as exports were suspended.

The head of Unicef said that among the global consequences of the situation in India, a global hub for vaccine production, is a severe reduction in vaccines available to COVAX.

”Soaring domestic demand has meant that 140 million doses intended for distribution to low- and middle-income countries through the end of May cannot be accessed by COVAX. Another 50 million doses are likely to be missed in June. This, added to vaccine nationalism, limited production capacity and lack of funding, is why the roll-out of COVID vaccines is so behind schedule.”

She urged G7 nations and ‘Team Europe’ group of European Union Member States to donate around 153 million vaccine doses while still meeting their commitments to vaccinate their own populations. ”New data analysis provided by Airfinity, the life sciences research facility, and commissioned by the UK National Committee for UNICEF, indicates that G7 nations and ‘Team Europe’ group of European Union Member States could donate around 153 million vaccine doses if they shared just 20% of their available supply over June, July and August.”

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