Tackling inequitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine
There have now been over 54 million cases and more than 1 million deaths from COVID-19 worldwide (So and Woo, 2020). Encouragingly, global efforts to produce COVID-19 vaccines have gained momentum, and the first patient in the UK received their vaccination on 8 December 2020. However, it appears that some countries are ahead of others. It is important to examine both the difficulties and ease with which different countries across the world are able to access the COVID-19 vaccine, and the reasons for unequal distribution, as well as-perhaps most importantly-equitable solutions.
In a recent study published in the British Medical Journal, So and Woo (2020) analysed the premarket purchase commitments for COVID-19 vaccines from leading manufacturers to recipient countries. This was a cross-sectional analysis, using data from the draft landscape of COVID-19 candidate vaccines from the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as company disclosures to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, company and foundation press releases, government press releases and media reports. The main outcome measures were premarket purchase commitments for COVID-19 vaccine candidates and price per course, vaccine platform and stage of research and development, as well as the procurement agent and recipient country.
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