Pfizer chief executive Albert Bourla : Sufficient Covid doses to meet WHO’s vax target

Insight Online News

London, Sep 8 : There are enough vaccines to meet the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) target of inoculating at least 10 per cent of people in every country, Pfizer chief executive Albert Bourla has said.

In late May, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had called for global support for a “sprint to September”, to enable every country to vaccinate at least 10 per cent of its population by the end of September.

Just 10 countries have administered 75 per cent of all vaccine supply, while low-income countries have vaccinated barely 2 per cent of their people, according to the global health agency.

Bourla said he believed it was “feasible” to fulfil the WHO’s target, the Financial Times reported.

The US intends to donate 200m Pfizer doses this year, which would cover about 15 to 18 per cent of the population of the world’s 92 poorest countries, he said.

Pfizer aims to deliver 41 per cent of its vaccines to low and middle income countries by end 2021, while Johnson & Johnson will send more than half, as production soars in the second half, the report said.

“I think yes, we will be covering (the goal). I think next year, we should be having enough doses for all that they want to receive, then we will reach the same problems that we are reaching in the high income countries, with people refusing to get the vaccination,” FT quoted him as saying at a press conference of the global pharma industry association.

While countries like South Africa and India, have rallied for waiving intellectual property rights on Covid-19 doses, vaccine makers have been pushing back against the proposal.

According to Bourla, the vaccines are created by “two miracles”: the original development and the scale-up of manufacturing. “I’m not sure what is the point of transferring a technology that is going to take years to transfer,” he said.

Bourla’s comments came after a recent study from Airfinity, a life sciences analytics company, concluded that developed countries are sitting on 500 million doses they could be distributing this month — and will have an extra 1.1 billion by the end of the year, the report said.

Ghebreyesus has slammed vaccine nationalism by the developed countries, calling it a “shame on all humanity”.

The pandemic can be ended in a matter of months if doses are shared and manufacturing is scaled up equitably, he said.

The WHO has also called for a moratorium on boosters until at least the end of September, even as countries like Israel, the US, France, Italy and a slew of others have started the third dose of Covid vaccines. The WHO aims to vaccinate 40 per cent of the population in every country by the end 2021.

IANS / AGENCY

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