March 21, 2023

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International Vaccine Donations Do Not Give Priority to Brazil – 06/14/2021

Although it may benefit from the gestures of some governments from time to time, Brazil should be dropped from the priority list of donating vaccines against COV-19 by rich countries.

This weekend, G7 leaders signed an agreement that could reach 870 million doses directly by the end of 2022. Taking into account all the promises from the beginning of 2021, the coalition governments point out that this will amount to 1 billion. But there is no explanation as to who will provide this difference of 170 million volumes.

A statement issued by the Kovacs facility after the meeting indicated that a large portion of the donations would be channeled through the International Distribution System, an alliance formed by the World Health Organization to ensure that vaccines are transferred worldwide.

But agency sources confirmed that the plan calls for the distribution of doses to two groups of poor countries, of which about 92 have made that list. Brazil is not one of these groups, and in the United States, Haiti, El Salvador, Bolivia, Honduras and Nicaragua are only part of the priority areas.

Government Joe Biden, When announcing the 500 million dose donation, has already made it clear that countries like Brazil are not on the list of priority destinations.

UN in Washington In the agencies, too, the Brazilian government can pay for the vaccines, so at this point a donation means that other countries in the most dramatic situation have gone without any supplies.

At the WHO, even the appraisal will allow donations to be published, from market availability, to other amounts levied on Brazil and other countries worldwide. But that is only an indirect effect.

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Brazil can benefit from “one-off gestures”

It is not excluded that Brazil may benefit from some timely delivery and, in fact, that conversations are taking place in this regard. The government hopes to ensure that once the herd immunity is available in Europe, the United States and elsewhere, the dose can be redistributed worldwide.

But for now, the first signs already indicate that the country cannot rely on this flow to accelerate the immunization campaign. In the United States, the White House has indicated it will set aside 6 million doses of vaccine to be distributed in twelve countries, including Brazil. The result is a lower number of quantities for national needs and more by Kovacs.

Another fact that weighs heavily: To the extent that rich governments donate vaccines, Brazil bought just 43 million doses of covax, equivalent to 10% of its population. Therefore, even if the mechanism is flooded with donations in the coming months, it is a priority to respond first to agreements already signed.

In other words, if African or Asian countries demand protection of 20%, 30% or 40% of their population, the provision of measurements will first fulfill these obligations. Only after this stage will there be room to reconsider the contracts.

WHO sources said that since taking office, Health Minister Marcelo Guerrero has spoken with agency members about the possibility of the government expanding its purchases from Kovacs. But with the current shortage and the priority of getting the scale to almost 100 other countries, any contract renewal for 2022 will have to wait.

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Senior staff of the World Health Organization estimate that despite the severe crisis in Brazil, the country will be provided above all by the production of local vaccines. In that organization, there are few places with a production in developing countries, so focusing on the Brazilian case is not a wait for foreign donations.

According to Bruce Aylward, one of the company’s key names in the Kovacs organization, the country is doing an “excellent job” of domestic production, and this production will be much higher than any expectation of international donations.

Not enough

However, international leaders and organizations have publicly criticized the G7’s announcement that it will guarantee $ 1 billion by the end of 2022. For WHO, UNICEF and other organizations, this amount is not enough and is coming too late. There was a wave of questions about the lack of a clear plan and timetable for when such vaccines would reach poorer countries.

Although the world already manages more than $ 2.3 billion, dozens of countries continue to experience deep deficits. In Iraq, only 1% of the population is vaccinated, compared to 1.9% in Guatemala, 1.1% in Cote d’Ivoire and Kenya.

In Mali, Niger, Zambia, Mauritania, Cameroon and a dozen countries the rate drops to less than 0.5%. Today, only 16 of the 193 UN member states are able to vaccinate more than 40% of their population.