G7 vaccine failures contribute to 600,000 preventable deaths

Latest data suggests wealthy countries have likely already obtained the majority of next-gen COVID vaccines

Less than half (49%) of the 2.1 billion COVID vaccine donations pledged to the poorest countries by G7 countries have been delivered, according to new figures released today by Oxfam and the People’s Vaccine Alliance.

On the eve of this year’s G7 summit, which is taking place in the German Alps, new analysis shows that if the missing doses had been shared in 2021, it could have been enough to save nearly 600,000 lives in low-income countries low and medium, the equivalent of one per minute.

The worst offenders are the UK and Canada, which have failed to deliver the number of vaccines they promised. Only 39% of the 100 million doses the UK has pledged to deliver by the end of this month have actually been delivered. Although the deadline to meet their respective commitments is not before the end of the year, only 30% of Canada’s 50.7 million doses and 46% of the 1.2 billion pledged by the United States have been delivered. . The so-called ‘Team Europe’ has collectively only delivered 56% of the promised 700 million doses by mid-2022 and Japan has delivered 64% of the 60 million doses it said it would send. .

The latest data from Airfinity suggests that rich countries may have already obtained more than half (55%) of the new generation of Omicron-specific COVID-19 mRNA vaccines developed by Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech. This is before they have even been approved for use, making it likely that many developing countries will once again be left behind.

Max Lawson, Head of Inequality Policy at Oxfam and co-chair of the People’s Vaccine Alliance, said: “Across the board, rich countries have massively betrayed poor countries when it comes to COVID vaccines. First they stockpiled all the supplies for themselves, then they promised to donate their leftovers, but hundreds of millions of those doses never materialized.

“Rich countries are already hoarding the new generation of Omicron-specific vaccines, while people in poorer countries will be forced to continue to deal with new variants with increasingly ineffective vaccines. The only way to solve this problem is to give nations the right to manufacture their own, not to rely on rich countries to transmit the doses they no longer need and to deliver too late for the millions who have died .

New data released yesterday by Imperial College London revealed that 599,300 deaths could have been prevented in 2021 if 40% of people in all countries had been fully vaccinated. The billion missing doses that the G7 countries failed to deliver would have been sufficient to achieve this goal. Almost all of these preventable deaths have occurred in low- and middle-income countries.

To date, only 14% of people in low-income countries and 18% of people on the African continent are fully immunized, falling far short of the goal of having 70% coverage in all countries by middle of the year. Despite such low vaccination coverage, Imperial College research has found that COVID vaccines have saved 446,400 lives in Africa and 180,300 in low-income countries.

At the same time, rich countries led by the EU and the UK imposed a text at the WTO that did not give up intellectual property on vaccines, treatments and technologies that would have allowed countries in development to produce their own generic vaccines. Instead, the text adds even more bureaucratic hurdles and further protects the hugely profitable monopolies of companies such as Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna. The People’s Vaccine Alliance calls on all countries facing shortages of vaccines, tests and treatments to save lives and end the pandemic by using all available trade rule flexibilities and circumventing the rules of the WTO if necessary. They say the G7 and other rich countries should not stand in their way.

Campaign groups also say the model of letting developing countries rely on donations to vaccinate people is completely wrong and actually leads to frustration and distrust.

Julia Kosgei, policy adviser at the People’s Vaccine Alliance, said: “Hundreds of thousands of lives have been saved in Africa thanks to vaccines, but so many more deaths could have been prevented. Immunization programs worked best when doses arrived on time, allowing governments to plan and scale up distribution. But many countries waited a year to receive their first doses. When the doses finally arrived, they arrived all at once, often close to their expiry date, which is totally unmanageable and unfair for countries that already have struggling health systems.

“Developing countries don’t want to have to wait for leftovers, they want the reliability and dignity of being able to produce their own doses. It is a shame that rich countries have blocked negotiations on an intellectual property waiver to increase vaccine production across the world so that pharmaceutical companies can maximize their profits while people are dying without access. To add insult to injury, they couldn’t even bother to ensure quick access to doses they didn’t even need.

“Rich countries have demonstrated that they cannot be trusted to act in the public health interest for everyone, everywhere – it is time for leaders in the Global South to take matters into their own hands. We hope that governments will do whatever is necessary to protect their people, whether that means using flexibilities in global intellectual property rules or circumventing them to save lives. through their path.

Previous research from the People’s Vaccine Alliance found that vaccine monopolies make vaccination 5 times more expensive globally, while Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech make over $1,000 in profit every second from COVID vaccines.


For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Oxfam’s press office on: +44 (0)7748 761999 media.unit@oxfam.org.uk

Notes to editors:

On Saturday, June 25, an Oxfam “Big Heads” photoshoot will take place from 10:30 a.m. local time in Munich. Activists dressed as G7 leaders in hiking gear will have to choose the right path to fight the COVID pandemic, standing in front of a large two-way sign, to ‘corporate profits’ or ‘save lives’. For more information, please see the Media Advisory: https://oxfam.app.box.com/s/eg10zdy3w7x7rwbwwnouvx50ey2u4klz

Other Notes to Editors, including all data tables available here: https://oxfam.box.com/s/b1bvzcy98jo9uvuzj6ef5wq0l2njxphb

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