Some poor countries of the world refused to take more than 100 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine last month, mainly because of a rapidly approaching expiry date, said Etleva Kadilli, Director, Supply Division, UNICEF. The World Health Organization (WHO) has run the global COVAX programme to provide vaccines to the world and under this, the Covid-19 vaccine was to be provided to these poor countries.
On Thursday, Etleva Kadilli said that the validity of these vaccines delivered to these countries was to expire soon, due to which some countries refused to take them. “Poor countries also do not have adequate arrangements for the maintenance of vaccines and there are also fewer refrigerators, due to which they were forced to take this step,” she added.
The figure shows the difficulties of vaccinating the global population despite growing supplies of jabs, with COVAX getting closer to delivering one billion doses to a total of nearly 150 countries. However, UNICEF has not given any answer regarding how many vaccines have been denied in these countries so far. There is also an issue that the supply of vaccines in these countries was delayed, as compared to rich countries.
Many countries also face high levels of vaccine hesitancy and have overburdened healthcare systems.
By the end of 2021, the EU had made available to poorer nations 380 million doses, of which only 255 million have been delivered, the European Commission has said. More than 30 poorer nations, including big states such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria, have used fewer than half of the doses they received.
COVAX is co-led by the WHO, the Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and CEPI (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations). Via UNICEF, it is about to deliver its billionth vaccine dose.
Worldwide, more than eight billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered so far in at least 219 territories, according to an AFP count. Some 149 doses per 100 people have been injected in high-income countries – and fewer than nine per 100 in the lowest-income nations.
On 29 December, the WHO announced that 92 of its 194 member states had missed its target of vaccinating 40 percent of their population by the end of 2021.