The chair of Unicef’s vaccination programme has called for wealthier nations to donate Covid vaccines. He asked to help the developing countries with the jabs before immunising their entire population.
Dr Robin Nandy is the chief of immunisation at the UN agency. He said he does not think any country can be safe unless every other are. Also, this is a time of worldwide solidarity and not vaccine nationalism.
Dr Nandy’s team has a responsibility in helping much of vaccinating much of the developing countries. The task is under him through the COVAX initiative. He says we tend not to forget middle-income countries.
Many countries have committed to doses that are three, four times more than their entire population. Attempting to vaccinate the entire country before ensuring equity still leaves the country at risk. Dr Nandy said in a statement.
He further added that it’s frustrating that the US, UK and EU are vaccinating, while regions like the sub-Saharan Africa regions have no access. That is something the COVAX initiative wants to deal with. They are putting in a mechanism to get those vaccines and distribute them to certain countries. The countries that cannot manage them or do not have the means to negotiate.
Dr Nandy, an epidemiologist, says regular vaccine rollouts would take several years in high-income countries. So it is imaginable it will take several more in the middle-income ones.
We are doing something unprecedented here, says he. Seeking to get each part of the planet vaccinated at the same time the same year.
What is UNICEF’s plan?
Unicef is helping to secure and distribute the vaccines to the countries signed up for COVAX. The WHO, the European Commission and France set up the programme to ensure the vaccine’s equitable supply.
Even for Unicef, it is a massive job, which distributes more than two billion vaccines to two hundred countries annually. Dr Nandy is confident that their experience will ensure 20% of developing countries’ populations will receive the vaccination. The expectations are that this will happen through the COVAX initiative by the end of this year.
Dr Nandy said the developing country faces different difficulties in the rollout of vaccines than the wealthier nations. One of the major is distribution, and he thinks it is not invested enough in that.