Asia applauds US vaccine donations, hoping for a ‘tipping point’ in the worldwide fight against polio.
Asia’s health officials and experts have praised the United States’ plans to distribute 500 million more doses of the Pfizer vaccine to underdeveloped countries.
However, experts argue that addressing massive vaccination gaps that threaten to prolong the coronavirus epidemic will require more than just money.
The announcement was expected to be made by US President Joe Biden in a speech before the commencement of the G7 summit in the United Kingdom.
According to a source acquainted with the situation who corroborated the news of the Pfizer sharing plan, 200 million doses – enough to adequately protect 100 million people – will be shared this year, with the remainder to be donated in the first half of 2022.
Professor Jaehun Jung of Gachon University College of Medicine in South Korea said the US donations might be a “major turning point” in the global fight against Covid-19, but bemoaned the fact that it couldn’t arrive sooner.
He said that the extremely cold storage temperatures required for Pfizer shots would pose a problem for countries with weak health systems, and he urged US officials and the New York-based pharma to look into the potential of relaxing the standards.
The delay in US assistance was “understandable,” he said, because the US faced its own supply problems while inoculating its own population. “However, for the time being, it is necessary to bring up the timing of vaccine provisions to the earliest possible point,” he continued.
According to reports, the Biden administration aims to distribute the 500 million vaccines it buys from Pfizer over the next year through the UN-backed Covax program to 92 low-income nations and the African Union.
The US has been under increasing pressure to lay out its global vaccine-sharing strategy. Inequities in supply have becoming increasingly severe over the world, and there is growing concern about additional virus strains arising from locations where Covid-19 circulation is constantly high.
The White House had previously stated that by the end of June, 80 million doses will be distributed worldwide, the majority of which would be through Covax.
Director of the South Korean Disease Control and Prevention Agency, Jeong Eun-kyeong. (This is a brief piece.)