Some 44% of the 1.4 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines so far injected around the world have been administered in high-income countries accounting for 16% of the global population.
Just 0.3% have been administered in the 29 lowest-income countries, home to nine percent of the world’s population.
The yawning gap spurred the chief of the World Health Organization to ask vaccine-wealthy nations to refrain from giving jabs to children and adolescents and instead donate those doses to Covax.
The urgency stems from more than mere fairness: wherever the virus continues to circulate it could give rise to more contagious or more deadly variants that could wipe out any progress toward immunity.
UNICEF said, “We are concerned that the deadly spike in India is a precursor to what will happen if those warnings remain unheeded. Cases are exploding and health systems are struggling in countries…like Nepal, Sri Lanka…Argentina and Brazil.”