The three leading Covid-19 vaccines are making their way towards the first line of beneficiaries. While the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are being administered in tens of countries, the Oxford-AstraZeneca (Ox-As) jab was recently approved by India. All of them, to varying extent, have proven to be effective enough for usage. But the Ox-As vaccine fares the best in terms of commitment towards a more equitable distribution, chart 1 shows.
Most vaccines are not yet available in plenty, and are costly, too. So much so that rich countries have taken the lead in purchase deals, and reported data shows India has joined them. Chart 2 shows that with about 18 per cent of the world’s population, India currently accounts for 21 per cent of global dose pre-purchase orders, according to data maintained by the Duke Global Health Innovation Center.
The European Union accounts for 18.5 per cent of dose orders, though it has only 5.8 per cent of the global population. The US and Canada have also done the same.
Chart 3 shows what proportion of the population the pre-purchase orders would cover. Accounting for 4 per cent of global orders, Canada has 450 vaccine courses per 100 people, followed by the UK at 266. At the current stage (December 2020), India would cover about two thirds of its population with the existing reported pre-purchase orders.
But there is a lot of difference in intent and implementation. The leader in actual inoculation till now is Israel, which has already vaccinated 12 per cent of its population. Bahrain and Iceland are at second and third position, while the US has inoculated close to 1 per cent of its population, reveals chart 4.
Though vaccination will go on even as new variants (or clades) of SARSCoV-2 come into the picture, public health may worsen. And genome mapping of Covid-19 cases assumes great importance here. This process has lagged in most countries, and mainly in India, shows chart 5.
Interestingly, it shows that leaders in scientific research — countries with more papers published per 10,000 people — are also the top ones in genome sequencing. To be fair, even Germany and France have lagged on this front.