Estimates Suggest US Could Have More Than 300 Million Extra COVID Vaccines By July

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According to a report released by the Duke Global Health Innovation Center on Thursday, the US has gathered an oversupply of the vaccine. 

The report follows the open letter released by Oxfam on Wednesday, which showed the signatures of over 100 former heads of state and Nobel laureates in a move to ask President Biden to “put the collective right to safety for all ahead of the commercial monopolies of the few.” They also called for the president to waive intellectual property rules for the vaccines. 

The paper shares: “Leadership from the US on safe, effective, and equitable global access to COVID-19 vaccines is imperative.”

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) also backed a letter that suggests the US should donate 10 percent of its excess doses. 

These letters add pressure for the president to make vaccines available worldwide and still be able to provide them for his countrymen. 

It’s possible to note that the country’s vaccination drive is seeing progress, even though there are some areas in the world where the virus continues to spread uncontrollably. Not to mention, more virulent variants have sprung out. 

Under Biden’s administration, the country has renewed its deal with Covax as a way for lower-income nations to acquire the doses. Antony Blinken, Secretary of State, is scheduled to host an event in support of this effort on Thursday. 

Despite these developments, many experts argue that these measures are still not enough. They estimate that the country will need to have “at least 300 million excess doses or more” before July ends, especially since the vaccination program is expected to include the majority of children.

The oversupply problem in the US, however, forms a contradiction with other poor countries. Most of which have had supply and distribution problems with the vaccine. If not addressed, it could prolong the health crisis and affect the recovery of the country. 

When asked about the issue, President Biden said: “If we have a surplus, we’re going to share it with the rest of the world.” 

“We’re going to start off making sure Americans are taken care of first, but we’re then going to try to help the rest of the world.”

As shared by Blinken, “This pandemic won’t end at home until it ends worldwide.” He also noted that international action is needed to protect Americans. 

The Duke paper estimates that the poorest 92 countries in the world won’t reach 60 percent vaccination rate of their population until 2023 “or beyond,” especially if the current distribution trends persist.