There’s a growing and dangerous divergence between richer and poorer countries in terms of access to COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics tools. In the face of a rapid spread 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 pre-purchases on paper, delivery to ports, and shots into people’s arms.
Vaccine Supply Shortages
Our data points to an acute shortage in the supply of doses for the rest of 2021. Many of the world’s richer economies have pre-purchased vast amounts of vaccines, while low-income countries (LICs) struggle to get supplies. Canada, for instance, has pre-ordered almost nine doses of vaccines per person, while many developing countries haven’t been able to order supplies to cover even their most vulnerable population.
Two key steps would address this shortage. First, countries with advanced vaccination programs must share surplus doses with countries that continue to face supply shortages. Second, manufacturers need to redouble efforts to scale up production and improve allocation of existing vaccines.
Trade barriers on vaccines and vaccine components also pose bottlenecks. This underscores the urgent need for all parties to address production, trade and supply chain bottlenecks for vaccines and other COVID health tools.
Vaccine Delivery Delays - Vaccine Delivery Dashboard
Long delays in the delivery of vaccines are causing big risks for the poorest countries. For instance, our data as of July 30, 2021 shows that only around 5% of doses that were pre-purchased by LICs have been delivered. For LMICs, 19% of doses pre-purchased have been delivered. And even for UMICs, this figure is at 54%.
Huge gaps exist between the number of vaccine doses pre-purchased and the number of doses needed to vaccinate 40% of the population in LICs and also between doses delivered and the number needed to reach the 40% target
The gaps to reach the target of vaccinating 60% of the population in LICs are even larger.
The expected vaccination rate for developing countries at end-2021 based on current delivery schedules of COVAX/AU/Bilateral deals & dose sharing agreements (% of total population) is around 20% on average.
The data on vaccine delivery clearly underscores that delivery schedules (COVAX/AU/Bilateral deals & dose sharing agreements) are not being met, and that there’s an urgent need to ensure timely delivery of doses ordered, as originally scheduled.
Administering shots into people’s arms - Vaccine Administration Dashboard
The database covers 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. Less than 0.3% of people in low-income countries are fully vaccinated, in contrast to over 44% of those in high-income countries.
In terms of doses administered as a percentage of population, the figure for LICs is 1.7% and for LMICs, 20%, in contrast with 92% for HICs.
The gaps between average observed daily vaccination rate (per 100 people) and daily vaccination rate (per 100 people) needed for developing countries to reach 40% by end-2021 stood at 0.2 for UMICs, 0.35 for LMICs and 0.45 for LICs as of 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 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 in developing countries – 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.
Projected increases in vaccine production in 2022
The dataset includes some information on projected increases in vaccine production, pointing to a significant projected increase in vaccine production next year, and several new vaccines (some of which may not receive final approval) expected to enter the market in 2022. Better data/transparency is needed on what’s likely to come on the market, and this is an area where we will seek to fill data gaps, over time. Better data is also needed on country vaccine preferences, so they can be matched with supply. To boost greater diversification of global vaccine-manufacturing capacity, cross border restrictions on essential raw materials must be lifted.
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.See More