Global access to Covid-19 vaccines

 

Sir, – I refer to an article by Sally Hayden (“Rich countries get boosters as vaccine inequality rages”, World, January 1st).

Figures from global health analysts Airfinity show that, by June this year, vaccine-makers will have produced 24 billion Covid-19 vaccine doses. That’s more than enough to vaccinate the world.

The challenge of supply has been met by the industry investing in its own existing sites and in voluntarily securing some 330 manufacturing partners globally with the skills and technology needed to produce Covid-19 vaccines. Sites, skills and technology are key in a highly complex and regulated manufacturing process. By sharing more surplus doses faster with lower-income counties, rich counties can protect the unvaccinated.

But we need to do more. Many lower-income countries are not able to absorb, distribute and administer Covid-19 vaccines when they get them.

There are reports that governments in these countries are destroying hundreds of thousands of doses. We need to focus on providing the logistical help needed to protect vulnerable populations. People in these countries are often highly vaccine-hesitant and they can be sceptical of their governments’ motivations. These challenges need urgent, empathetic interventions.

At the same time, our industry will keep surging vaccines production for global supply. We will keep working on new vaccines and treatments as this health threat evolves. Multilateral solutions are needed, especially in building country readiness to absorb innovation and in combatting vaccine hesitancy.

Sharing patents in the hope that someone, somewhere, can turn their hand to manufacturing Covid-19 vaccines, including mRNA ones which are new, is not, in our view, the way forward. Supply isn’t the issue; distribution, administration and hesitancy are causing the problem.

We should work together to solve it. – Yours, etc,

BERNARD

MALLEE,

Director of Communications

and Advocacy,

Irish Pharmaceutical

Healthcare Association,

Dublin 2.