There’s a growing and dangerous divergence between rich and poor countries in terms of access to COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics tools. In the face of new variants, this continues to have significant negative impacts on the health, wellbeing, and livelihoods of people living in the poorest countries – and we are already seeing the harmful implications for the global economic recovery.
Despite efforts to date, significant gaps persist in the current international response that must be identified and resolved. The international community must step up its response by:
Better coordination and engagement – supported by the right data and analysis – is needed. One goal of the MLT dashboard is to illuminate specific gaps—not just globally but also at the country level—and identify targeted solutions to close these gaps.
So, what are some of the key gaps and indicators that this database presents?
In the initial release of the dashboard, the focus is primarily on vaccines, to pinpoint gaps, and the growing divergence between richer and poorer countries, in terms of access.
Even though billions of vaccine doses are set to be available in the coming months, our data points to a shortage in the supply of doses to many developing countries, particularly low-income countries (LICs) that find themselves at the back of the queue.
The world’s richer economies have secured enough vaccines to immunize their population multiple times over: The G7 countries as a group, for instance, have secured 2.9 billion doses in excess of what they need to fully vaccinate their populations. Meanwhile, among developing countries, 34 countries -mostly in Africa- have not yet secured enough doses to fully vaccinate 40% of their population by end 2021, and some 78 countries have not yet secured enough doses to reach the 70% target by mid-2022.
Three key steps would help accelerate vaccine supply to countries that need them the most. First, countries with advanced vaccination programs must share surplus doses with countries that continue to face supply shortages, for example, through delivery swapping arrangements. Second, countries that have announced donations need to urgently fulfill their pledges. Third, vaccine manufacturers must prioritize supplies to low- and lower-middle income countries that are facing acute shortages.
Export restrictions, high tariffs, and customs bottlenecks on COVID-19 vaccines and inputs/supplies also pose bottlenecks, which need to be addressed, along with the need to harmonize and streamline regulations to accelerate approvals.
Vaccine Delivery Delays - Vaccine Delivery Dashboard
The lack of timely delivery of vaccine supplies is is causing big risks for the poorest countries. For instance, our data as of November 11, 2021 shows that only 11% of doses secured by or for LICs have been delivered to airports/ports - a modest improvement from 5% at the end of July. Four out of ten doses secured by LMICs had been delivered by early November, while UMICs have received 83% of their secured doses.
Even if current delivery schedules were met, LICs will only be able to vaccinate 20% of their population by end-2021. The AMC91 countries need an estimated 490-640 million more doses (over and above what is currently projected to be supplied to them by year-end) to meet the 40% vaccination target. Many of these countries, and particularly the poorest ones, are finding themselves at the back of the supply queue, with most of their deliveries projected to take place next year.
Looking at the gaps between the actual number of doses delivered to airports/ports and doses needed to vaccinate 40% of people, our data shows that developing countries currently need 1.2 billion more doses delivered to be able to achieve 40% vaccination coverage, and 3.8 billion more doses to achieve the 70% target.
Administering shots into people’s arms - Vaccine Administration Dashboard
The database tracks a rich set of indicators around vaccine administering.
One headline observation from the data is the divergence between richer and poorer countries in the percentage of people vaccinated. Only 2.2% of people in low-income countries are fully vaccinated, which constitutes a very modest improvement from a vaccination rate of 0.3% by the end of July; in contrast, 44% of those in high-income countries were already vaccinated by July, a number which has increased to more than 65% to date.
In terms of doses administered as a percentage of population, the figure for LICs is 5.9% and for LMICs, 60%, in contrast with 140% for HICs.
The gap between average observed daily vaccination rate (per 100 people) and the daily vaccination rate (per 100 people) needed for developing countries to reach 40% by end-2021 increased to 0.44 for UMICs (up from 0.2 in July), 0.84 for LMICs (up from 0.35 in July) and 1.2 for LICs (up from 0.45 in July). This gap mainly reflects the limited supplies available to developing countries so far.
In large part, filling the gap between low daily vaccination rates and the rates needed to achieve 40% requires access to more doses. At the same time, greater clarity on supply/delivery schedules and efforts to improve country readiness will help prepare countries for their vaccination campaigns once vaccine supplies become readily available.
In some countries, stepped-up efforts are needed to improve country readiness– for example, capacity to transport vaccines from ports (e.g., cold chain capacity) and capacity to administer them into people’s arms (e.g., training of vaccinators). More details on the action areas coming out of the VIRAT-VRAF2.0 assessments will be included in the country dashboards in a future update of the dashboard.
Dose donations to COVAX
The database tracks dose donations delivered against pledges made.
Vaccine Production and Trade
The dataset includes some information on vaccine production and trade, which is being updated through a new Vaccine Trade Tracker. So far, the world cumulatively has produced more than 8 billion doses of vaccines. More than two-thirds of these are supplied domestically in the countries they were produced in; about 24% were delivered to countries based on bilateral deals. Only 2.8% and 2.5% of vaccines are supplied via COVAX and donated to COVAX, respectively.
Diagnostic - Diagnostic and Testing Dashboard
While in its first phase, this database focuses mainly on vaccines, it does include some data and key gaps in testing. Average daily testing rates in most LICs are well below the minimum target of 1 per 1000 people.
New Tool - Covid19 Global Tracker, powered by ACT-A & the Multilateral Leaders Task Force
This new Tracker, still in its beta phase, is designed to track progress towards ending the COVID-19 pandemic along key dimensions, including access and deployment of vaccines, treatments, tests, PPE, other tools, and the financing needed to end the pandemic.See More