The White House announced today that the US has shipped 400 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines around the world, a milestone that AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) described as commendable but still far short of what is needed to vaccinate our world.
“Over 3.5 billion people around the world are not yet fully vaccinated, which means nearly 50% of the global population is unprotected from COVID-19 and susceptible to developing new variants of the virus. Shipping 400 million doses is great, but not enough – we need billions more to slow down the pandemic,” said Tom Myers, AHF Chief of Public Affairs and General Counsel. “The US can and should do more, but it doesn’t have to shoulder all of the weight – pharma companies must be compelled to share their technologies and patents so that production can be expanded in other countries.”
The US has either purchased or has options on a total of 2.6 billion vaccine doses, far in excess of what is needed to fully vaccinate its population of nearly 330 million people. That means a surplus of well over 1 billion doses can be dispatched to other hard-hit regions, such as Africa, where less than 16% of people have received even one vaccine dose. The EU has the second-largest stockpile of vaccines with around 2 billion doses.
There is enough global capacity to fully meet the demand for vaccines. Until the world is awash in billions of readily available doses, modest donations of a few hundred million doses will remain a drop in a bucket.