India, the world’s largest vaccine maker, has banned exports, shocking millions of poor people in other needy countries. In many places, people who received their first dose of vaccine are now wondering whether they will receive the second dose or not. The fear of safety has increased with the arrival of different and dangerous variants. “We are waiting to die without a vaccine,” said John Omondi, a Kenyan taxi driver waiting for the second dose.
There are dozens of developing countries whose national immunization program has been thwarted by India’s decision. Kenya is also one of these countries. In fact, the dangerous B.1.617 variant is also spreading rapidly in India, which has wreaked havoc in recent weeks. For this reason, there is a need to speed up vaccination in India and meet domestic demand. (Photo: Kenya, Credit: Brian ONGORO / AFP)
‘Things should be normal in India soon’
The Indian Serum Institute administered 1 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to Kenya with a population of 5 crore under the Kovacs program. The second batch of 30 million doses was due to leave in June but India has stopped exports. “If we had had the vaccine, we would have started the second phase of our plan,” says Patrick Ameth, executive director of the Kenya Ministry of Health. He expressed the hope that the situation in India would soon return to normal. Along with this, efforts are also being made to obtain vaccines from Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer.
Likewise, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and South Korea have also suffered a setback due to the unavailability of vaccines from India. Indonesia has now moved to China and called for the patent to be withdrawn to increase production. The poor countries of Kenya, Ghana to Bangladesh, Indonesia are dependent on COVAX, but they have no other way but to stop the vaccination. (Photo: Indonesia, Credit: REUTERS / Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana)
Extreme system in neighboring countries
According to the UN agency UNICEF, by stopping exports from India, by the end of June, there will be a shortage of 19 million doses in the world. This will leave poor countries behind, and global efforts to stop the virus will take a heavy blow, even at a time when dangerous variants are emerging. Health systems have also collapsed in countries such as India’s neighbors – Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Argentina and Brazil.
In Bangladesh, the first dose schedule should be stopped. Here, in the first 6 months of the year, 5 million doses were to be known each month from India. So far, only 70 lakhs have been reached. Bangladesh has now approved the Russian Sputnik vaccine and 5 lakh doses have arrived here from China. One million doses of Pfizer on COVAX will arrive next month. (Photo: Bangladesh, Credit: AP Photo / Mahmud Hossain Opu)
Demand from rich countries
54% of African countries depend on COVAX for vaccination. Africa’s goal was to vaccinate 30-35% by the end of the year and 60% of the population over the next two to three years, but the lack of a vaccine could lead to overcoming that target. . Similarly, Ethiopia now owns the Sinopharm vaccine from China and is trying to acquire other brands. In Ghana, too, the vaccination target appears to be declining.
UNICEF and other charities have called on rich countries to donate their extra doses to poor countries. UNICEF Fore says that even though only the G7 countries share 20% of their supplies, 15.3 crore of doses can be received in June, July and August, which will bring relief to many countries. At the same time, companies like Pfizer and Moderna have been urged to step up the offer. (File photo: Ethiopia, credit: REUTERS / Tiksa Negeri)