Nearly 1 Billion People in Asia, Pacific Yet To Receive COVID-19 Vaccine: IFRC
Globally, less than 20 percent of the population have received a single dose in low-income countries, according to Oxford University's Our World in Data.
The IFRC is calling for all governments and pharmaceutical companies to act now to achieve greater vaccine equity.
"The COVID vaccine has been one of the most remarkable feats of modern science and it is saving millions of lives but too many people are still living in danger. It is critical for humanity and for economies that people have access to COVID-19 vaccines in all countries. Vaccine equity is the key to winning the race against new variants," John Fleming, IFRC's Asia Pacific Head of Health, said in a press release on Tuesday.
"We urge richer nations to urgently step up and enable equitable access to lifesaving COVID vaccines for everyone in lower income countries. Unless we prioritise protection of the most vulnerable in every country, the administration of multiple booster doses in richer countries is like applying a bandaid to a festering wound," he added.
Globally, 5.2 million COVID-19 doses are now administered every day. While some high-income countries including Canada and Australia have purchased around 10 COVID vaccine doses per person, others such as Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Myanmar have purchased less than two vaccinations per person, according to Duke University's Launch and Scale Speedometer.
More than 6 million deaths are recorded globally, however the World Health Organization estimates that 14.9 million lives have been lost due to the pandemic. COVID infections are rising in almost 70 countries in all regions according to the WHO.
"If we want to end this pandemic once and for all, we need to urgently address hesitancy in every country, strengthen local delivery to get doses into arms and transfer vaccine and anti-viral drugs technology to manufacturers in low-income nations," said Fleming.
"There has been remarkable cooperation between countries around the world but this pandemic is not over and much greater action is needed by leaders in richer countries and pharmaceutical companies to enable equal access to vaccines for people everywhere," he added.
Globally, Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies have supported more than 400 million people to access COVID-19 vaccines. The network continues to deliver vaccines, tests and treatments to the most vulnerable and is helping to rebuild stronger health systems.
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