The European Union, Canada, and other developed countries have signed deals with Pfizer & BioNTech to secure hundreds of millions of vaccines & booster shots over the next two years, increasing the gap between rich and poor countries.
What’s Happening: Under the new deal, Pfizer/BioNTech has agreed to supply 1.8 billion doses to the EU & 125 million doses to Canada. Australia, Switzerland, and Israel also have options to purchase vaccines from Moderna till 2023.
These agreements will ensure that these developed countries have sufficient supplies of vaccine and any booster shots that may be needed if there is another wave of infection. Yet, these deals leave out developing nations who are not just struggling to get vaccines but also to contain the infections.
Why It Matters: Developing nations are struggling to get their population vaccinated because developed rich nations have reserved the doses for them for the next few years. While many developing nations are still in talks with various manufacturers. They’re also waiting for dosages from Covax and have asked the US government to excess doses. Scientists warn that the developed countries won’t be able to fully reopen unless developing nations are able to immunize a sufficient number of residents.
Prashant Yadav, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, said that, if the divergence persists, more countries will likely sign supply deals with China and Russia, which have been eagerly providing doses made by their manufacturers.