People working on a mural outside Tambaram Station in Chennai, India on July 4, 2021. India is one of the world’s largest donors of Covid-19 vaccines.
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The United States is the largest donor of Covid-19 vaccines in the world, well ahead of other major economies such as China, Japan and the United Kingdom, according to public data compiled by UNICEF.
UNICEF is a United Nations agency responsible for the protection and development of children. It also manages the supply of Covid vaccines for the COVAX initiative, which aims to share doses with low-income countries.
The agency has consolidated data on donated Covid vaccines from publicly available information, which may not show the full extent of donations around the world.
Yet the data has provided insight into the flow of vaccine donations as rich countries advance with their immunization campaigns, while many developing countries struggle to immunize their populations.
Donations are insufficient
The United States has donated and delivered more than 114 million doses of Covid vaccine to about 80 mostly developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, according to the data. That’s more than three times the 34 million that China gave, according to the data.
China is the world’s second-largest donor of Covid vaccines, while Japan comes in third with around 23.3 million, according to data compiled by UNICEF.
Asian countries are among the top recipients of donated Covid vaccines, with Bangladesh, the Philippines, Indonesia and Pakistan each having received more than 10 million donated doses, data shows.
In total, more than 207 million doses of Covid vaccines given bilaterally or via COVAX have been delivered, according to the data. This is below the number of doses recommended by an independent expert group set up by the World Health Organization.
In its final report in May, the independent panel recommended that high-income countries redistribute at least one billion doses of Covid vaccine to low- and middle-income countries by September 1, and another billion doses of by mid-2022.
On Tuesday, two of the best epidemiologists in the WHO condemned rich countries for accumulating treatments and vaccines against Covid. One of them said such actions prolonged the pandemic.
A study by analysis firm Airfinity showed that rich countries bought more Covid vaccines than they need. Airfinity predicts that the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Canada and Japan will have a surplus of more than 1.2 billion doses in 2021 after vaccinating all eligible people and giving boosters.
Costs of vaccine inequity
WHO has set a target to help every country immunize at least 10% of its population by the end of this month, before increasing that figure to at least 40% by the end of this year. and 70% by mid-2022.
But in around 50 countries around the world, less than 10% of the population has received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine, many of which are in Africa, according to official data gathered by the online repository Our World in Data.
Africa as a region has vaccinated only 5.5% of the population, the lowest rate in the world, according to data.
Experts, including renowned epidemiologist Larry Brilliant, have said greater vaccine coverage is needed to limit new variants of the coronavirus and end the global pandemic.
Beyond health concerns, delays in immunizing the world’s population could cost the global economy $ 2.3 trillion between 2022 and 2025, the Economist Intelligence Unit has estimated. Emerging economies will bear two-thirds of those costs, the consulting firm said.
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