Joe Biden wants 70% of the world’s population to be vaccinated by next year5 min readReading Time: 4 minutes
US President Joe Biden has a goal — to vaccinate 70% of the global population within the next year. He recently announced that US is doubling its purchase of drug manufacturer Pfizer’s Covid-19 shots to share with the world to 1 billion doses!
This new commitment is a huge part of the pact Biden wants to make with other world leaders, which he is all set to announce at the global vaccination during the UN General Assembly. He wants to urge other wealthy countries to help out in getting the virus under control.
The reason he is trying to create a pact is because world leaders, groups working on relief during the pandemic and global health organisations are concerned about the slow pace of vaccinations and the inequity of access to shots between residents of wealthier and poorer nations.
The purchase being made by the US will bring the country’s total vaccination commitment to more than 1.1 billion doses. At least 160 million shots supplied by the US have been distributed to more than 100 countries.
Long road ahead
While a billion doses may seem like a lot, this latest purchase of vaccines reflects only a fraction of what will be necessary to meet the goal of vaccinating 70% of the global population, and 70% of the citizens of each nation by next Septembers UN meeting.
Another issue is the actual distribution of the vaccine to poorer nations, which has been marred with logistical and political problems. More than 5.9 billion COVID-19 doses have been administered globally over the past year, representing about 43% of the global population. But there are vast disparities in distribution, with many lower-income nations struggling to vaccinate even the most vulnerable share of their populations, and some yet to exceed 2% to 3% vaccination rates.
The World Health Organization says only 15% of promised donations of vaccines from rich countries that have access to large quantities of them have been delivered. It has said it wants countries to fulfil their dose-sharing promises immediately and make shots available for programs that benefit poor countries, and Africa in particular.
Owliver’s Obscure Observations
Just 3 per cent of all Africans are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, leaving the majority of the adult population unprotected. The virus has taken the lives of more than 200,000 on the continent.
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Do you know who is heads the World Health Organization? He is the first African national to have taken on this role. Solve the puzzle below, and leave your answers in the comments below!
UN programme suffers too
COVAX, the UN-backed programme to ship vaccines to all countries, has struggled with production issues and supply shortages. Wealthier countries buying big shipments of the vaccines has also affected the programme from being as successful as it could have been.
The WHO has urged companies that produce vaccines to prioritise COVAX when deciding their supply schedules.
COVAX has missed nearly all of its vaccine-sharing targets. Its managers also have lowered their ambitions to ship vaccines by the end of this year, from an original target of some 2 billion doses worldwide to hopes for 1.4 billion now. Even that mark could be missed.
As of Tuesday, COVAX had shipped more than 296 million doses to 141 countries.
What’s happening in Biden’s US?
Biden had set a goal of vaccinating 70% of the US adult population by July 4, but due to many people feeling hesitant towards the vaccine, the nation could not meet that target until a month later.
Vaccine hesitancy is a delay in acceptance, or refusal of vaccines despite the availability of vaccine services. Vaccine hesitancy is complex and context-specific, varying across time, place and vaccines.
Nearly 64% of the entire US population has received at least one dose and less than 55% is fully vaccinated, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
US officials hope to increase those figures in the coming months, both through spreading awareness on the benefits of vaccination and by vaccinating children once it has been approved for use for the under-12 population.
What do you think about ‘vaccine hesitancy’? Do you vaccines should be made compulsory for everyone amid a global pandemic?
Sources: The Guardian, News18, Al Jazeera