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This week on Covid News: Global Inequalities in Vaccine Doses; travel tips from the CDC; and the book Cuomos.




A new analysis by The New York Times found that although half a billion doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered worldwide, more than 75 percent of them have been used by the world’s richest countries. Experts say it is not the inability of the poorest countries to buy vaccines, but how and when dosing agreements were reached.

In the pandemics of the early days, when drug manufacturers had just begun to develop vaccines, placing orders for each of them was a risk. Richer countries might have been able to order multiple vaccines, but in doing so, they tied up doses that smaller countries could have bought, according to experts.

This prompted higher-income countries like the United States to claim doses that, if handed over, could vaccinate the country four times over. Canada has provided a number of doses that could inoculate the country six times this year. But Kenya expects to have only 30 percent of its population vaccinated by 2023, with Covax covering the top 20 percent.

Covax, a global effort to distribute vaccines evenly led by the World Health Organization and others, has sought to shift the balance. As of March 30, Covax has shipped 32.9 million doses of vaccine to 70 countries and regions. Most of those remittances were donations to lower-income countries. To put that number in context, it is only 6 percent of the 564 million doses that have been administered worldwide.

Inequalities are growing, unfortunately, said Andrea Taylor, a Duke University researcher who is studying vaccine purchase deals, and we expect that to be the case for at least the next six months as rich countries continue to hold the majority of doses production lines.

Here is what else we learned this week:

  • Federal health officials said Friday that Americans who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 may travel at low risk to themselves, but that they should continue to take precautions like wearing a mask.

  • While Governor Andrew M. Cuomo of New York was writing a book that would focus on his image as a pandemic hero, a recent Department of Health report threatened to reveal a much higher number of coronavirus-related deaths in nursing homes than the Cuomo administration had previously made public.

  • A clinical trial of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine found that it is extremely effective in young adolescents, perhaps even more so than in adults. The study found no symptomatic infections among vaccinated children aged 12 to 15, the companies said, and there were no serious side effects. The data have not yet been reviewed by independent experts.

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