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The Gates Foundation’s fifth annual Goalkeepers report suggested that the global vaccine coverage dropped to ‘half of what was anticipated’. It mentioned that the world has stepped up to avert some of the worst-case scenarios amid the pandemic.

According to the previous year’s Goalkeepers Report, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) estimated a drop of 14 percentage points in global vaccine coverage. However, it stated that a new analysis from IHME showed the decline.

Meanwhile, the report also outlined the disparities caused by COVID-19, and those affected the most will be slowest to recover. Due to the global pandemic, 31 million people were pushed into extreme poverty in 2020 compared to 2019. The report indicated that nearly 90 percent of advanced economies will regain pre-pandemic per capita income levels by next year, only a third of low and middle-income economies are expected to do so.

It also stated that the lack of equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines is a ‘public health tragedy’, said Bill Gate, Co-chair of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and co-author of the report. Reportedly, 80 percent of the vaccines have been administered in high and upper-middle-income countries to date. For the purpose of recovery from the global pandemic, the co-chairs called for long-term investments in health and economies.

Further, vaccine access has been strongly correlated with the locations where there is vaccine research and development, and manufacturing capability. Though Africa is home to 17 percent of the world’s population, for example, it has less than 1 percent of the world’s vaccine manufacturing capabilities.

Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman emphasized the need to invest in local partners to strengthen the capacity of researchers and manufacturers in lower-income countries. Suzman pointed out that this is the only way to create the vaccines and medicines required by the lower-income countries.

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