Rich nations are amassing doses of COVID-19 vaccines due to which people living in poor countries are set to miss out on jabs next year, campaigners have warned.
The People's Vaccine Alliance, a coalition that includes organisations such as Oxfam, Amnesty International, and Global Justice Now, has cautioned that nine out of 10 people in 70-low-income nations are unlikely to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in 2021 as rich countries have bought and hoarded far more doses than they need.
The alliance has added that well-to-do nations comprising 14% of the world's population have procured 53% of the total stock of the most-promising jabs as of last month, leaving the poor at the mercy of the raging coronavirus. This is despite Oxford University and AstraZeneca vowing to provide 64% of their doses to people in developing countries, although several steps are being taken to ensure that access to coronavirus vaccines is fair around the world.
The coalition said that pharma companies working on COVID-19 vaccines should openly share their intellectual technology and technological know-how through the World Health Organisation (WHO), so more doses can be produced.
Canada has procured more doses per head of population than any other, which is sufficient to vaccinate each Canadian five times, said the alliance.
Although high-risk groups in Britain received the first shot of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech on Tuesday, December 8, most people in 67 low-and-lower-middle-income nations comprising Haiti, Ethiopia, and Bhutan risk being left behind, the alliance added.
It further stated that among the three coronavirus vaccines for which efficacy results have already been announced, nearly all of the available doses of two of them - Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna - have been procured by rich nations.
While AstraZeneca, and Oxford University have pledged 64% of their doses to people in developing countries, the jab would only reach 18% of the population around the globe by next year, the alliance added.
The data used by the campaigners was derived from science, information, and analytics company Airfinity to assess the deals done between nations and eight leading vaccine candidates, comprising China's Sinovac and Russia's Sputnik V.
"By buying up the vast majority of the world's vaccine supply, rich countries are in breach of their human rights obligations," Steve Cockburn, Amnesty International's Head of Economic and Social Justice, said in a statement.