India reports nearly 98,000 new Covid-19 cases in highest worldwide daily spike

A Sinovac Biotech Covid-19 vaccine candidate is displayed at the China International Fair for Trade in Services on September 6 in Beijing. Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images

Rich nations including the United States, Britain and Japan have already bought up more than half the expected supply of coronavirus vaccine, the international anti-poverty nonprofit Oxfam said Wednesday.

These countries represent 13% of the world’s population, but have bought up future supplies of 51% of coronavirus vaccines, Oxfam said. 

The group used data collected by analytics firm Airfinity to analyze published deals between governments and vaccine makers. Oxfam calculated five organizations — AstraZeneca, Russia’s Gamaleya, Moderna, Pfizer and China’s Sinovac — have the combined production capacity to make 5.9 billion doses. That’s enough to cover nearly 3 billion people — less than half the world’s population, if everyone needs two doses, as seems likely.

Oxfam said in a statement that supply deals have already been agreed for 5.3 billion doses, of which 2.7 billion (51%) have been bought by developed countries and territories including the UK, US, Australia, Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, Switzerland and Israel, as well as the European Union. The remaining 2.6 billion doses have been bought by or promised to developing countries including India, Bangladesh, China, Brazil, Indonesia and Mexico.

Oxfam noted that AstraZeneca has pledged two-thirds of the doses it produces to developing countries.

“Access to a life-saving vaccine shouldn’t depend on where you live or how much money you have,” said Oxfam’s Robert Silverman. “The development and approval of a safe and effective vaccine is crucial, but equally important is making sure the vaccines are available and affordable to everyone. COVID-19 anywhere is COVID-19 everywhere.” 

When will we get enough vaccines? On Monday, Adar Poonawalla, chief executive of the Serum Institute of India (SII), predicted there may not be enough Covid-19 vaccine until 2024. “It’s going to take four to five years until everyone gets the vaccine on this planet,” Poonawalla told the Financial Times. 

Poonawalla estimated that if the Covid-19 shot is a two-dose vaccine, the world would need about 15 billion doses.

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