As the world is trying to cope with the corona pandemic, rich countries and drugmakers vowed to put more effort into sharing doses and investing money to help the poorer regions in their fight against the virus.
“As we prepare for the next pandemic, our priority must be to ensure that we all overcome the current one together. We must vaccinate the world, and do it fast,” says Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi. But so far, wealthy countries received more than 80% of the first billion shots, and low-income nations, around 1%. How to close this immense gap and prevent people from dying needlessly? By sharing dollars and doses, says US philanthropist Bill Gates.
To start, Pfizer and BioNTech will make available 1 billion cut-price doses to poor countries this year alone, and another billion next year. Johnson & Johnson will also do its part by providing 200 million doses of its vaccine. The three drugmakers will give their doses to COVAX, a vaccine-sharing program co-led by the World Health Organization. The European Union, will donate 100 million doses to poor nations by the end of the year, and inject $1.2 billion to build vaccination manufacturing hubs in Africa. China plans on giving $3 billion over the next three years to help low-income countries recover from the pandemic, and also proposes to set up an international forum where a fairer distribution of vaccines would be promoted.