According to the Washington Post, on the 10th local time, the FDA’s coronavirus vaccine team recommended approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine.
Since the United Kingdom was the first to approve the vaccine earlier this month, developed Western countries have joined the “scramble to buy”. Reuters previously reported that developed countries and regions, such as the European Union, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and other countries and regions, which account for 14% of the global population, have bought 53% of the global vaccine share. Canada’s purchase volume is even five times that of its population.
The People’s Vaccine Alliance, an international vaccine watchdog, said that 90% of the population in dozens of poor countries may lose the opportunity to get the coronavirus vaccine next year because rich countries hoard far more vaccines than they need.
The head of the African disease control agency called on those countries that ordered an overdose vaccine to consider distributing the remaining vaccine to Africa.
The “scramble-up rush” is getting worse and worse.
On December 2, the United Kingdom fired the first shot of the vaccine “competition war”, and the country’s Drug Administration urgently authorized the approval of the coronavirus vaccine cooperated by Pfizer and BioNTech to be put into use.
At the press conference on the same day, Ugur Sahin, co-founder and CEO of BioNTech, said that the emergency use authorization in the United Kingdom marks the first opportunity for ordinary people other than experimental volunteers to get a vaccine against the novel coronavirus, and believes that the implementation of vaccination plan in the UK will slow down the high Hospitalization of critical population.
Britain’s “scramble” in the vaccine competition caused a great uproar in the United States.
For days in a row, headlines such as “How the UK won the Western vaccine competition” and “How the UK defeated the United States by approving a coronavirus vaccine” dominated the headlines in the mainstream media in the United States.
In order to regain “face”, US President Trump assured the public at the “Vaccine Summit” held on the 8th that “tens of millions of doses of vaccine will be put into use this month.” He also signed an executive order requiring the “America First” principle to be adhered to in the issue of vaccination.
Although the words of this executive order are unknown, and even mocked by CNN as “empty symbolic order”, the unease caused by the “America First” statement of vaccines has exacerbated the “scramble to buy”.
The day after Trump signed the executive order, Canada quickly announced that it would approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine as the first approved coronavirus vaccine, thus becoming the third country after the United Kingdom and Bahrain to approve the vaccine.
Subsequently, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu announced that he would voluntarily become the first Israeli to be vaccinated against Pfizer against the novel coronavirus, and also said that the government would soon be able to provide 60,000 vaccines a day to the people.
On the 10th, Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare said that it had reached an agreement with Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, AstraZeneca and Modena to purchase a total of 290 million doses of coronavirus vaccine. Japan will also buy 10,500 refrigerators and consider buying a large amount of dry ice to store the coronavirus vaccine.
On the same day, Australian Prime Minister Morrison said that Australia may start the coronavirus vaccine early, earlier than March 2021.
“Developing countries were abandoned in the sprint against the epidemic”
While Western countries are sparing no effort to hoard vaccines, some economically backward countries are facing the situation that vaccines are unavailable.
According to CNN, only one in ten of the 67 poorer countries are expected to be vaccinated by the end of 2021. Developed countries have begun to rush to ensure supply in the early stage of the pandemic, ordering a large number of vaccine products.
French virologist Jean-François Saluzeau mentioned in his book The Epic of Vaccines that when the H5N1 influenza outbreak, Asian countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia were on the front line of the fight against the epidemic, and these high-risk countries did not have enough money to enter into contracts for the procurement of influenza vaccines with pharmaceutical giants. .
“The whole world needs vaccines, and the vaccines in the international market are now being robbed.” Spain’s newspaper El Paínés’s website pays special attention to achieving reasonable coverage of the coronavirus vaccine is particularly difficult for Latin America.
According to the report, few countries in Latin America have participated in the development of the most advanced vaccines, and these countries have always been in a weak position in the international market. When the epidemic hits, this secondary position makes it only lose in the process of competing for a vaccine, and ultimately unable to meet all its existing needs.
Reuters reported that as African countries began to feel the impact of the second wave of the coronavirus, John Nkengason, director of the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also said on the 10th that African countries are unlikely to get enough vaccines.
“There are countries that have three to four or five times the amount of vaccines they need,” Nkengazon said at a press conference. He added that these countries can help poorer countries start vaccination programs to protect their citizens.
Some analysts point out that the equal access to suitable, safe and effective vaccines globally, especially in developing countries, is a key link in determining the success or failure of the fight against the epidemic.
“Developing countries are being abandoned in the global anti-epidemic sprint, which is not conducive to defeating the epidemic.” CNN wrote, citing the statement of the international vaccine monitoring agency. A Amnesty International official similarly said that hoarding vaccines undermines efforts to ensure that all people are protected from COVID-19.” Rich countries violate their human rights obligations by buying out the vast majority of the world’s vaccine supply.
There is a long way to go to achieve equitable distribution of vaccines.
To ensure that vaccines are distributed fairly on a global scale, the World Health Organization (WHO) has repeatedly called for vaccines against COVID-19 to become a public good.
WHO Director-General Tedros Tedros has said that progress in the development of a coronavirus vaccine has begun to see “light at the end of the tunnel”, but that the vaccine “must be distributed equally as public goods, not as private goods that will widen inequality and cause some people to fall behind”.
Back in April this year, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), WHO (WHO) and the Alliance for Innovation in Epidemic Prevention (CEPI) jointly created the COVID-19 Vaccine Implementation Plan (COVAX) aimed at fair and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
However, according to Duke University, as of December 4, global vaccine orders were 9.8 billion, while COVAX only ordered 700 million. For 92 economically backward countries, which make up 20% of the world’s population, COVAX may be its only source of vaccine. Even if all 700 million doses are distributed, there is still a gap of at least 1.3 billion doses.
On the evening of December 6th local time, a flight carrying 1.2 million doses of Chinese-made coronavirus vaccine arrived in Jakarta. As one of the Asian countries hardest hit by the epidemic, Indonesia is looking forward to this batch of vaccines.
Unprecatedly, the Financial Times labeled the vaccine as “vaccine diplomacy” in the report, and even unfoundedly tested that China’s vaccines had “unknown sequelae”.
According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Health and Prevention of the United Arab Emirates on the 9th, the data of the third phase of clinical trials submitted by the China Biological Beijing Institute of Biological Products of the State Pharmaceutical Group have been reviewed and “officially registered”.
Clinical trials involving 31,000 volunteers from 125 countries showed that the Chinese-made inactivated COVID-19 vaccine was 86% effective against viral infections, and the neutralizing antibody positive rate was 99%, and 100% could prevent moderate and severe COVID-19 cases, the statement said. Relevant studies have also not found serious safety hazards for vaccines.
It is worth noting that compared with the harsh cryogenic storage environment of Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine, the storage conditions of inactivated vaccines of domestic drugs are 2-8 °C for light-proof preservation and transportation under the condition of little difference in efficiency.
Some analysts believe that after the “vaccine war” between the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan and other developed countries, several Chinese vaccines are bringing hope to developing countries such as Asia, Africa and Latin America.
As China officially joined COVAX, “This is an important measure for China to adhere to the concept of the human health community and fulfill its commitments to promote vaccines to become a global public good.”