Brussels – The ONE Campaign released updated results of the Vaccine Access Test, a comprehensive assessment to date of commitments to improve global vaccine coverage.
The EU has decreased its score for the first time due to the purchase of an additional 300 million doses from Pfizer-BioNTech amassing overall contracts for 2.3 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines, enough to vaccinate the bloc’s population more than twice over’.
With the approval of the Moderna vaccine, the EU has secured enough doses of approved vaccines to vaccinate 380 million Europeans, 80% of the population, going against the World Health Organisation COVID-19 allocation guidelines.
Brandon Locke, Policy and Advocacy Manager at The ONE Campaign, said: “Today, the World Health Organization’s chief announced that just 25 doses of a COVID19 vaccine have been administered in just one of the world’s lowest-income countries. Conversely, the EU has successfully procured 2.3 billion doses for its own citizens and administered over 5 million vaccines. President von der Leyen rejected vaccine nationalism, so now is the time to move from words to action.
For the EU to deliver on its commitment to make vaccines a global public good, it must urgently work towards a strategy to share its own vaccines with poorer countries, and ambitiously increase global supply to ensure enough doses are available to lower-income countries. The EU has taken steps in the right direction, but it can do more by reversing its opposition to the proposal to waive COVID-19 intellectual property rights at the World Trade Organization. This proposal by India and South Africa, which is supported by all African countries, would allow for scale-up of global manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines, treatments, and tests.
Jenny Ottenhoff, Senior Policy Director at The ONE Campaign, added: “Despite the inspiring sight of COVID vaccines going into the arms of people around the world, our Vaccine Access Test is showing worrying signs that the incredible scientific achievement may be undermined by a failure to get the vaccine everywhere. In particular, we are seeing two developments that could actually prolong the lifetime of the pandemic by several years.
“First, the notion that it’s possible to end the Pandemic within any one country is simply not true. As long as the virus remains unchecked anywhere on earth it remains a threat to people everywhere – it will continue to mutate, to breach borders, and to wreak havoc on the global economy.
“Second, the world can’t afford to wait for the richest countries to get first dibs on vaccines. This kind of trickledown vaccine access is not a viable strategy for ending this pandemic. Instead, we need to invest in the global institutions that can increase access to vaccines globally and take steps to prevent hoarding in any one country. If we fail to do so we face the prospect of an unending pandemic.”