50 min

The Evidence: Sharing Vaccines – what’s gone wrong‪?‬ Discovery

    • Science

The lofty ambition of the global community was that across the globe, those with the highest risk of losing their lives to this virus should be vaccinated first. With 99% of deaths coming in the over fifties, the plan was that everybody in this age group should be inoculated.

But that’s not what has happened. Vaccine supply is in crisis and in Africa, a continent of over 1.2 billion people, only around 20 million Africans have been vaccinated, with only 35 million vaccines landing so far on the continent.

It’s been called “vaccine apartheid” and “a moral outrage” but as South Asia, South America find themselves again, in the eye of the virus storm, largely unvaccinated Africa fears the next wave is heading for them.

Can vaccine nationalism be overcome and scare supply be fairly distributed?

It’s a question that very much concerns Claudia Hammond’s expert panel: Gagandeep Kang, Professor of Microbiology at the Christian Medical College in Vellore, India, Dr Yodi Alakija, co-chair of the African Union’s Vaccine Delivery Alliance for Covid-19, Professor Andy Pollard from the Oxford Vaccine Group who led the clinical trials for the Oxford/Astra Zeneca (or Covishield) Vaccine and Professor Peter Hotez, Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine in Houston and co-director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Centre for Vaccine Development in the USA.

Produced by: Fiona Hill, Hannah Fisher and Maria Simons
Studio Engineers: Jackie Marjoram and Tim Heffer

The lofty ambition of the global community was that across the globe, those with the highest risk of losing their lives to this virus should be vaccinated first. With 99% of deaths coming in the over fifties, the plan was that everybody in this age group should be inoculated.

But that’s not what has happened. Vaccine supply is in crisis and in Africa, a continent of over 1.2 billion people, only around 20 million Africans have been vaccinated, with only 35 million vaccines landing so far on the continent.

It’s been called “vaccine apartheid” and “a moral outrage” but as South Asia, South America find themselves again, in the eye of the virus storm, largely unvaccinated Africa fears the next wave is heading for them.

Can vaccine nationalism be overcome and scare supply be fairly distributed?

It’s a question that very much concerns Claudia Hammond’s expert panel: Gagandeep Kang, Professor of Microbiology at the Christian Medical College in Vellore, India, Dr Yodi Alakija, co-chair of the African Union’s Vaccine Delivery Alliance for Covid-19, Professor Andy Pollard from the Oxford Vaccine Group who led the clinical trials for the Oxford/Astra Zeneca (or Covishield) Vaccine and Professor Peter Hotez, Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine in Houston and co-director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Centre for Vaccine Development in the USA.

Produced by: Fiona Hill, Hannah Fisher and Maria Simons
Studio Engineers: Jackie Marjoram and Tim Heffer

50 min

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