Epidemiologist and director of the Global Alliance for Immunization (Gavi), Seth Berkley, warns that “there are still 16 countries in the world with less than 10% of the population vaccinated” and 14 of them are in “difficult” situations such as conflicts of war.
In an interview with Efe, Berkley (United States, 1956) asserts that “the situation has improved compared to January, when there were 34 countries with less than 10% of the population vaccinated”, and values which “reduces to more than half of the countries with this low vaccination rate has not been easy, because it is difficult to operate in countries with such weak health systems.
Gavi, established in 2000 by, among others, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, is a global public-private collaborative organization to ensure and improve access to immunization, especially for children in developing countries, against life-threatening preventable diseases.
At the start of the covid pandemic, the entity promoted a campaign to raise 10,000 million dollars – an amount they obtained after a few months – to reach, at least, 20% of the vaccinated population in all countries .
there is no fairness
Berkley, who participated in an event in Barcelona (Spain), says that at present “47% of the population of the 92 poorest countries in the world have received an average of two doses of the covid-19 vaccine, while the world average is 61%.
Of the 92 countries, Gavi operates in 86 and since its inception has funded the vaccination of almost 800 million children against deadly diseases such as diphtheria, tetanus, hepatitis B, yellow fever and, more recently, Covid.
This difference, according to the epidemiologist, shows that “the distribution is still not equitable, but measures are being taken so that the distance is smaller and smaller because, in addition, soon everyone will need more doses vaccine against covid”.
Another of the challenges Gavi had to face was that “many pharmaceutical companies did not prioritize access to vaccines in developing countries, but their sales in developed countries”, denounces the director.
“When we saw that this mercantilist view prevailed, we chose to work with manufacturers to change the course of this dynamic and find a balance between selling patents and promoting fairness in distribution”, he adds.
At the same time, most developed countries had access to the various covid vaccines, with which they were able to immunize their population before poor countries.
“We knew political leaders would do their best to defend their citizens first, but in a global pandemic, we are only safe when everyone is safe,” he warns.