How are countries securing COVID-19 vaccines

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As we get closer and closer to overcoming the Novel Coronavirus, one question comes to mind: how have countries gone about securing vaccines especially as more become authorized for use and pass PhaseThree trials. How do countries compare when it comes to buying vaccines and vaccinating their total population?

There are many different ways to secure doses of vaccines. India has secured 1.5 billion of various vaccines of different types, mostly thanks to manufacturing agreements with vaccine producers such as Serum Institute of India, the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world. The European Union has secured a total of 1.6 Billion doses, The United Kingdom has secured 357 Million vaccines. Canada has 358 Million doses which would give them nine doses per person for their population of 38 million. All these countries with the exception of India are high-income countries most of which funded and invested in vaccines giving them first dibs. The United States is one of the biggest examples of this and has provided billions of dollars to vaccine research, development, and manufacturing. All thanks to Operation Warp Speed a public-private partnership with the goal of producing and delivering 300 million doses of vaccines. This on top of other factors has led the United States to acquire 1 Billion doses. The European Union has done the same pledging to fund vaccine candidates too. 

While those are just a few countries it seems as though all of them are racing to secure enough for their relative population, which leaves lower-income countries at a disadvantage. COVAX, which is an organization with the goal of providing COVID-19 vaccines equally across the world has secured 700 million doses, but the organization is struggling to reach its goals. Not only that, but the organization promises to only cover 20% of each country’s population and healthcare workers. This would leave lower-income countries to get vaccines through other means. 

China has eight developing vaccines and four of them are authorized to make their vaccine available for countries to use. China has already made deals with many countries. The United Arab Emirates and Pakistan have already authorized Sinopharm which was created by a Chinese state-owned pharmaceutical company. The vaccine (Sinopharm) has 79% effectiveness, but sinopharm is also labeled as one of the ‘most unsafe in the world’ by Taiwan news. Even with that, the Vaccine has been authorized in many countries such as Serbia, among others. 

Another Chinese vaccine that has been making waves is the CoronaVac vaccine created by Beijing-based company Sinovac. While the vaccine has been authorized for use in Indonesia and Turkey, questions grew about the effectiveness of the vaccine. Late-stage trials in Brazil revealed a 50.30% efficiency rate, which is far less than other vaccines such as Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna, and the Sinopharm. Both vaccines are regarded as affordable and easy to distribute compared to Pfizer or Moderna, which call for cold storage. Sinovac has vaccine agreements with six other governments, and now countries are re-examining the potential use of the vaccine. As of now, the situation is still developing but trust in Chinese-made vaccines is waning. 

When considering the situation, there’s something else to remember; no matter the number, every vaccination counts. Vaccinations will lead to herd immunity and a future that isn’t ridden by COVID-19, and all countries are unified in that goal. In reference to the United States, the Trump administration struggled to reach its goals and as of January 19, the United States administered 12.28 Million vaccines. As a new administration takes the wheels, Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. has already revealed his plan for vaccine distribution, with a target goal of 100 million vaccines administered in the first 100 days. The Biden administration will spend $20 Billion on the national vaccination program, vowing to work with federal, state, and local officials. Overall each country has done seemingly everything in their power to secure vaccines to inoculate their relative populations, but it could be years before people in lower-income nations see vaccines as the world races to bring an end to COVID-19.