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High-Income Countries Have Secured COVID-19 Vaccine Supplies

THURSDAY, Dec. 17, 2020 -- High-income countries have secured supplies of COVID-19 vaccines, but access is uncertain for other countries, according to a study published online Dec. 15 in The BMJ.

Anthony D. So, M.D., and Joshua Woo, from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, conducted a cross-sectional analysis to analyze the premarket purchase commitments for COVID-19 vaccines from leading manufacturers to recipient countries.

The researchers found that several countries had made premarket purchase commitments totaling 7.48 billion doses, or 3.76 billion courses, of COVID-19 vaccines from 13 manufacturers as of Nov. 15, 2020. Fifty-one percent of these doses will go to high-income countries, representing 14 percent of the world's population. The United States accounts for one-fifth of all COVID-19 cases globally (11.02 million cases) but has reserved 800 million doses, while Japan, Australia, and Canada do not account for even 1 percent of current global cases (0.45 million cases) but have reserved more than 1 billion doses. If the vaccine candidates are successfully scaled, 5.96 billion courses will be manufactured by the end of 2021; up to 40 percent of these vaccine courses might potentially remain for low- and middle-income countries. Vaccine prices vary from $6.00 to $74.00 per course.

"High-income countries have sought to secure future supplies of COVID-19 vaccines, but have left much of the rest of the world with uncertain access," the authors write. "Ensuring an effective response to this pandemic will require more -- the commitment of high-income countries to share in an equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across the world."

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Posted: December 2020

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