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COVID-19 vaccines: 5 reasons why dose donations are essential

Vaccines will help us end the COVID-19 pandemic, but only if everyone has access to them.

COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate, and the dangerous surges in infection rates and the emergence of new variants in some countries places everyone at risk. The development of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines is a huge step forward in the global effort to end the pandemic and to get back to doing more of the things we enjoy with the people we love.

But there is currently a limited number of vaccines, so it’s critical to prioritize vaccinations to save lives and to protect public health services in all countries. The COVAX Facility – the global COVID vaccine equity scheme – represents a pathway toward addressing the imbalance in vaccine access between high and low-income countries. But COVAX is undersupplied.

G7 leaders will be meeting in June 2021 with a potential emergency stop-gap measure readily available: dose donations. G7 countries and other well-supplied nations immediately donating additional available doses to COVAX is a minimum, essential and emergency stop-gap measure, and it is needed right now.

5 things to know about why dose donations are essential:

  1. More than 1.4 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been administered by late May 2021, yet less than 1 per cent of global supply is reaching low-income countries. While we need even more vaccines to meet demand, there are enough doses available among well-supplied countries to reach the world’s most vulnerable people right now.

  2. The longer the virus continues to spread unchecked, the higher the risk of more deadly or contagious variants emerging – placing everyone at risk. While well-supplied countries are vaccinating their entire adult populations against COVID-19, others with very poor vaccination coverage are witnessing dangerous surges in infection rates and the emergence of new variants. The recent deadly spike in India could be a precursor to what will happen across the region, and globally, if this inequity prevails.

  3. Millions of children in poorer countries are at the risk of developing preventable diseases due to the pandemic disrupting routine immunization services. Donating doses now could help resume life-saving services in these countries. 

  4. The donation of COVID-19 vaccines from well supplied countries is one of the only ways to increase the number of doses available to COVAX right now. It’s a practical solution to ensure that as many people as possible can access vaccines in every corner of the world as fast as possible in the months ahead.

  5. Well-supplied countries can donate while still meeting commitments to their own populations. According to an analysis by Airfinity, G7 nations and ‘Team Europe’ group of European Union Member States together will soon have enough vaccine doses to be able to collectively donate more than 150 million to some of the most vulnerable populations in the world if they donated just 20 per cent of their available supply over June, July and August.

Call to Action:

UNICEF is calling on Governments around the world with surplus doses to begin donating now. COVID-19 vaccines alone are not a silver bullet to end the pandemic. But donating immediately available doses is needed right now.