New report reveals just 14% of pledged Covid vaccines delivered to low-income countries

New report reveals just 14% of pledged Covid vaccines delivered to low-income countries

21 October 2021

  • Pharmaceutical companies and developed nations have delivered just 14 percent of vaccines pledged to low-income countries
  • Ireland has given little more than a quarter of promised doses as it continues to block moves to share vaccine technology and recipes

Developing countries have been hit with an endless tide of broken promises from rich countries and pharmaceutical companies, who are failing to deliver billions of doses they promised while blocking the real solutions to vaccine inequality, according to a new report by the global People’s Vaccine Alliance.

The report, A Dose of Reality, which was published today, found that of the 1.8 billion Covid-19 vaccine donations pledged by developed nations, just 261 million doses – or 14 percent – have been delivered so far. In addition, western pharmaceutical companies have delivered just 12 percent of the doses they allocated to COVAX, the initiative designed to help low- and middle-income countries get fair access to vaccines.

To date, Ireland has delivered just 335,500 of the 1.3 million vaccines it promised to low-income countries – a little over a quarter (26 percent) of its target. At the same time, the EU – including Ireland – has refused to support the proposal by more than 100 nations to waive patents on vaccines and Covid-related technologies, while leading pharmaceutical companies have failed to openly share their technology with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to enable developing countries to make their own vaccines and save lives.

Jim Clarken, Oxfam Ireland Chief Executive, said: “Developed nations like Ireland and pharmaceutical companies are shamefully failing to deliver on their promises while blocking the actual solution; ensuring developing nations have the ability to make their own vaccines.

“It is painfully clear that the developing world cannot rely on the largesse and charity of developed nations and pharmaceutical companies, and hundreds of thousands of people are dying from Covid-19 as a result. It should be clear by now that we can’t donate our way out of this pandemic.”

This new report, A Dose of Reality, outlines that relying on pharmaceutical companies has undermined the COVAX initiative, firstly by not allocating it enough doses, and secondly by delivering far less than they agreed. Of the 994 million doses allocated to COVAX by Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Oxford/AstraZeneca, and Pfizer/BioNTech, just 120 million (12 percent) have actually been delivered. This equates to 15 times less than the 1.8 billion doses delivered to rich countries by these companies. Moreover, both Johnson & Johnson and Moderna are yet to deliver a single dose.

Clarken added: “The failure of rich country donations and the failure of COVAX have the same root cause – we have given over control of vaccine supply to a small number of pharmaceutical companies who are prioritising their own profits.

“These companies can’t produce enough to vaccinate the world, they are artificially constraining the supply, and they will always put their rich customers at the front of the line. 

“The only way to end the pandemic is to share the technology and know-how with other qualified manufacturers so that everyone, everywhere can have access to these lifesaving vaccines.”

The WHO has said that it must be a global priority to get doses to developing countries by the end of this year, but the report emphasises that rich countries are not listening. They are working to a timetable of delivering an inadequate supply of doses by some time in 2022, which is likely to lead to countless unnecessary deaths.

Clarken said: “Across the world, health workers are dying and children are losing parents and grandparents. With 99 percent of people in low-income countries still not vaccinated, we have had enough of these too little, too late gestures.

“Governments must stop allowing pharmaceutical companies to play god while raking in astronomical profits and start delivering actual action that will save lives.”

To deflect growing pressure to share their vaccine technology free of intellectual property restrictions, leading western pharmaceutical corporations have consistently over-exaggerated their projected production volumes, claiming there will soon be enough for everyone while delivering the overwhelming majority of their stock to rich nations. It should be remembered that over $100 billion in taxpayers’ money went into helping develop these vaccines.

Collectively, the four companies claimed they would manufacture an estimated 7.5 billion vaccines in 2021. However, with less than three months until the end of the year, they have delivered just half this number. Forecasts suggest the companies will produce 6.2 billion vaccines by the end of the year, a 1.3 billion shortfall on their projections.

ENDS

To arrange an interview, please contact:

Joanne O’Connor | joanne.oconnor@oxfam.org | 083 198 1869

Notes to editors:

All statistics are reference available in the full report: A Dose of Reality: How rich countries and pharmaceutical corporations are breaking their vaccine promises  

The headline stats that rich nations have only delivered 14 per cent of promised doses refers to doses donated by the G7 and ‘Team Europe’ which includes the EU, Norway and Iceland.

So far COVAX has received directly from pharmaceutical companies:

  • 104 million (14 percent) of the 720 million doses promised by Oxford/AstraZeneca
  • 16 million (40 percent) of the 40 million promised by Pfizer/BioNTech
  • Zero doses of the 200 million promised by Johnson & Johnson
  • and zero doses of the 30 million promised by Moderna

Only 1.3 percent of people in low-income countries are fully vaccinated.

Health data analytics group Airfinity forecast that Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Oxford/AstraZeneca, and Pfizer/BioNTech will produce 6.2 billion doses by the end of the year, a 17 percent shortfall of the original forecasts, which translates into more than 1.3 billion missing vaccine doses.

All the figures come from Airfinity and are correct as of 12 October 2021.

Oxfam, a founding member the global People’s Vaccine Campaign, while Oxfam Ireland is a founding member of the People’s Vaccine Alliance Ireland, which is calling on the Irish Government to:

  • Use its voice within the EU to support the TRIPS waiver.
  • Endorse the WHO Covid Technology Access Pool (C-TAP) to facilitate the sharing of know-how by pharmaceutical companies to increase vaccine production.
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