Dr Sharifah Sekalala from Warwick School of Law comments on Unicef's call to G7 countries to begin distributing vaccines now rather than waiting and sending surplus doses in one go.
She said: "Countries in the G7 should avoid a model in which they think about dumping excess vaccines in developing countries and instead think about creating better supply chains. At the moment our focus in the global north seems to be on vaccinating everyone, including children, before we send vaccines abroad. This has two main problems. Firstly as we have seen with the issue of variants, we are not safe until everyone is safe. Secondly, while donations to COVAX are laudable, the main problem at the moment is supply and we will not be able to supply countries in the global south through COVAX if we are hoarding all the vaccines.
"Creating better supply chains now is part of a broader structural change that we need in order to ensure that we have greater global pandemic preparedness. We have now had a number of countries who have held onto vaccine doses only to try and off load them when they are very near to their expiry date because we don’t have proper supply chains in place. For instance Canada and the USA have both held onto the AZ vaccine and tried to donate doses that are about toe expire but this has had mixed results. This is not only wasteful it is morally unconscionable!"
Dr Sekalala is an interdisciplinary researcher whose work is at the intersection of international law, public policy, and global health. She is primarily interested in infectious and non-infectious diseases and the impact of law in curbing these diseases and the inequalities that exacerbate them.
8 June 2021
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