India has made advance purchase of the maximum amount of Covid vaccine in the world with 1.6 billion doses, but it would only cover 59 per cent of its population. A study by the Duke University of the US shows a huge gap in the vaccine purchase of rich nations and developing countries. High income countries have purchased as many vaccine doses as possible to increase their chances of covering their whole population multiple times. Middle and lower-middle income countries do not have enough to vaccinate everyone.
The data shows that once vaccines for Covid are in the market, the majority will go to high-income nations. The low and middle-income countries and equity-focused partnerships like COVAX, there will not have enough.
In terms of doses, India is at the top of the list with 1.6 billion doses, followed by the European Union, which has 1.36 billion doses so far from 6 different firms. Next is the US which has bought a total of 1.1 billion doses, followed by COVAX- the vaccine alliance — and then Canada and then the UK.
But once population is taken into account, countries like Canada have purchased enough to vaccinate its population more than five times over.
The study shows that Canada has made enough vaccine purchase to cover 601 per cent of their population, the US 443 per cent, UK 418 per cent, Australia 266 per cent and the European Union 244 per cent.
Among the developing nations, India will be able to cover only 59 per cent of its population, Mexico 84 per cent, Brazil 46 per cent and Kazakhstan 15 per cent of its population. Philippines is at the bottom of the table with enough vaccine for only one per cent of its population.
Earlier this month, the Centre made it clear that it is not considering vaccinating the entire country as and when a vaccine for coronavirus is approved.
“The government has never spoken about vaccinating the entire country,” Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan had said. The goal, it was said, was to work towards a critical mass of vaccinated people that would break the chain of transmission.
The government has also prepared a list of who gets the vaccine first. The priority list was topped by around 1 crore healthcare professionals, then the police and armed forces personnel, people aged above 50 and those below 50 with co-morbidities.
Currently, 260 vaccine candidates are in different stages of development globally. Of these, eight are scheduled to be manufactured in India, including three indigenous ones, Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan has said.