A healthcare worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination center in the midst of an outbreak of coronavirus disease in Ronquieres, Belgium, on 6 April 2021.
Yves Herman Reuters
On Monday, the head of UNICEF asked the G7 countries to donate supplies to the COVAX vaccine sharing scheme as an emergency measure to address a serious shortage caused by the disruption of Indian vaccine exports.
India has restricted exports of the AstraZeneca vaccine, produced by its serum institute, which was promised to COVAX to be used by the country as it fights a massive second wave of infections.
The UN agency UNICEF, which is responsible for delivering coronavirus vaccines through COVAX, estimates the supply shortage of 1
“Sharing immediately available overdoses is a minimal, substantial and urgent measure to stop and is needed right now,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Faure, adding that this could help prevent vulnerable countries from becoming the next global hotspot. .
As G7 leaders prepare to meet in Britain next month, the head of the World Health Organization last week condemned the “moral catastrophe” of vaccine inequality, urging rich countries to donate instead of using it for children who are less vulnerable to severe disease.
Citing a new study by research and analysis firm Airfinity, UNICEF’s Foreice said the G-7 could donate about 153 million doses if they shared only 20% of their available supplies in June, July and August.
This can be done while commitments are still being made to vaccinate their own populations, she said, without providing further details.
COVAX, co-managed by the WHO and the GAVI vaccine alliance, relies heavily on the AstraZeneca shot, which is the bulk of early-release vaccines, as it seeks to provide 2 billion doses this year.
UNICEF said other production restrictions outside India have also delayed deliveries of COVAX doses, but these delays are expected to be resolved by the end of June.