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Enough Vaccines for All

In the two months since mass vaccination began, at least 148m doses have been administered. Around the world, a further 39m are now getting a jab every week. And there's enough ordered for everyone on Earth to get their two shots - as long as rich countries share.

The new vaccines have been designed and tested with unprecedented speed. According to a tally kept by Airfinity, an analytics company, 378 Covid-19 vaccines are in various stages of development. Of those, three (made by Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca) have met the stringent rules for regulatory approval in at least one Western country; two more (made by Novavax and Johnson & Johnson) should get the green light soon. Two vaccines from China and a promising Russian one have also been authorised in some countries, reports The Economist.

The makers of these eight vaccines have signed contracts to deliver 7.9bn doses this year, and say they have capacity to fulfill orders for 4.3bn more. So, at least in theory, the good news is that vaccine makers should be able to produce 2.1 shots - more than a full regimen - for each of the world’s 5.8bn adults by the end of 2021. (Children are not yet eligible, pending research on safety and efficacy.)

However, it's a case of the jabs and the jabs-not. The 54 richest countries account for 18% of adults on Earth, but 40% of vaccine orders - enough to give each of their adults 2.5 two-dose regimens. Canada leads the pack and has ordered a whopping 11 doses per adult.

So, there's enough vaccine ordered for delivery this year to inoculate everyone on Earth. But rich countries will need to share, and not hoard or waste vaccines. It's actually getting jabs into everyone's arms that is the issue.



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