India’s Covid-19 agonies highlight growing gap between rich and poor in immunization

A global divide is widening between rich countries which are rapidly vaccinating their populations against Covid-19 and poor countries which are lagging behind, exacerbated by a devastating epidemic in India which is helping to bring daily infections around the world to their highest level nowadays.

The dramatic rise in Covid-19 cases in India, which has fully vaccinated less than 2% of its 1.4 billion people, is further disrupting stuttering efforts to vaccinate in developing countries.

The Indian government last month curtailed vaccine exports, slowing supplies to other poor countries that had relied on the manufacturing power of India’s pharmaceutical industry to protect their own citizens. Many developing countries have immunized only a tiny fraction of their population, including frontline health workers.

In particular, India’s export restrictions highlight a major weakness in the Covax initiative backed by the World Health Organization, a program funded primarily by Western governments to distribute free vaccines to 92 countries. low and middle income.

The majority of Covax’s supplies for this year, including vaccines developed by the joint effort of the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca PLC as well as US company Novavax Inc., are produced in India. Officials working with Covax say there is little clarity on when large-scale shipments will resume.

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