Vaccine rollout on Planet Earth: A "catastrophic moral failure"

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Vaccine rollout on Planet Earth: A "catastrophic moral failure"

Post by Bird on a Fire » Mon Mar 22, 2021 4:11 pm

According to the WHO, anyway:
Speaking at a WHO executive board session on Monday, Dr Tedros said, "I need to be blunt: the world is on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure - and the price of this failure will be paid with lives and livelihoods in the world's poorest countries."

Dr Tedros said a "me-first" approach would be self-defeating because it would push up prices and encourage hoarding.

"Ultimately, these actions will only prolong the pandemic, the restrictions needed to contain it, and human and economic suffering," he added.

And the WHO head called for a full commitment to the global vaccine-sharing scheme Covax, which is due to start rolling out next month.

"My challenge to all member states is to ensure that by the time World Health Day arrives on 7 April, Covid-19 vaccines are being administered in every country, as a symbol of hope for overcoming both the pandemic and the inequalities that lie at the root of so many global health challenges," Dr Tedros said.

As we've seen, certain rich countries have used their economic clout and populist politics to disrupt other nations' vaccine rollout programs. In the USA, Trump-era "America First" policies have been continued by the Biden administration, to the extent that Canada has to source its vaccines from the EU. The UK is rich enough to have bought six doses for every citizen, and is still blocking exports of domestically manufactured doses. (thread)


Maybe poor countries should just pull themselves up by their bootstraps and start manufacturing their own vaccines? Perhaps - but those same rich countries in the north are making that difficult too:
Wealthy countries - including the UK - are blocking proposals to help developing nations increase their vaccine manufacturing capabilities, documents leaked to BBC Newsnight show.

Several poorer countries have asked the World Health Organization to help them.

But richer nations are pushing back on provisions in international law that would enable them to achieve this.

This is according to a leaked copy of the negotiating text of a WHO resolution on the issue.

Among those richer nations are the UK, the US, as well as the European Union.

This isn't over till it's over. Even if we don't care about poor people far away dying of yet another treatable disease, unless we keep the global economy in suspended animation for a few more years international travel means that new variants will keep arriving in the north. From a humanitarian perspective, at the very least we should get enough doses to COVAX to cover all healthcare workers globally.

The arguments about prioritising people based on their vulnerability vs economic contribution vs potential superspreadiness will vary from place to place of course. But I really don't think history will look kindly on privileged vaccine hoarders, whether or not a vaccine-resistant mutation comes back to undo all their gains.
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Re: Vaccine rollout on Planet Earth: A "catastrophic moral failure"

Post by Herainestold » Mon Mar 22, 2021 4:29 pm

China, India and Russia are vaccinating the developing world. The West is MIA.

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Re: Vaccine rollout on Planet Earth: A "catastrophic moral failure"

Post by Sciolus » Mon Mar 22, 2021 8:02 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Mon Mar 22, 2021 4:11 pm
This isn't over till it's over. Even if we don't care about poor people far away dying of yet another treatable disease, unless we keep the global economy in suspended animation for a few more years international travel means that new variants will keep arriving in the north. From a humanitarian perspective, at the very least we should get enough doses to COVAX to cover all healthcare workers globally.
Yep, superficially selfish but actually totally short-sighted. That's an extraordinarily depressing story given that global vaccine manufacture is the bottleneck in getting back to normal.
Herainestold wrote:
Mon Mar 22, 2021 4:29 pm
China, India and Russia are vaccinating the developing world. The West is MIA.
Some countries understand soft power (and, if you want to be cynical, care more about it than their own citizens).

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Re: Vaccine rollout on Planet Earth: A "catastrophic moral failure"

Post by bob sterman » Mon Mar 22, 2021 8:14 pm

I think it is worth noting a key part of Tedros' speech that suggests his main criticisms are focused on future plans, not vaccine strategies so far...
It’s right that all governments want to prioritize vaccinating their own health workers and older people first.

But it’s not right that younger, healthier adults in rich countries are vaccinated before health workers and older people in poorer countries.
Here's the full speech...

https://www.who.int/director-general/sp ... tive-board

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Re: Vaccine rollout on Planet Earth: A "catastrophic moral failure"

Post by Millennie Al » Tue Mar 23, 2021 3:05 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Mon Mar 22, 2021 4:11 pm
This isn't over till it's over. Even if we don't care about poor people far away dying of yet another treatable disease, unless we keep the global economy in suspended animation for a few more years international travel means that new variants will keep arriving in the north. From a humanitarian perspective, at the very least we should get enough doses to COVAX to cover all healthcare workers globally.
From a global perspective, equality makes no sense. It's like 100 people have a headache, and giving each a hundredth of the effective dose of aspirin. The optimal strategy is to attack the disease by region, eliminating it (or reducing it to very low numbers) in one place before moving on to the next region. The success of this can be seen in places like Australia and China, which have got the number of cases very low and so can have a mostly reopened economy. As such, the supply of vaccines should go to the places where they are most effectively being used. Note that the herd immunity effect means that you gain an extra bonus from vaccination once you reach the threshold where the disease can no longer grow its numbers.

The most important criterion is use of the vaccines. There should be no significant quantities stored anywhere as it should be going as fast as possible from factory into people. The UK and India are doing well by this criterion, parts of the EU are not so good, and the USA is very bad as it has been reported to have accumulated large stocks of the Oxford/AZ vaccine that it is unwilling to use pending approval but also unwilling to pass on to somewhere that would use it.

A reasonable strategy for the UK to maximise its self-interest would to be vaccinate its own population, and then support vaccination in Ireland (due to the land border) and other European islands which are popular holiday destinations, such as Ibiza, Cyprus, Corfu, as that would provide an area within which people could travel fairly freely. It wuld also be very fast strategy as the populations are small enough to cover very quickly.
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Re: Vaccine rollout on Planet Earth: A "catastrophic moral failure"

Post by shpalman » Tue Mar 23, 2021 9:19 am

Millennie Al wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 3:05 am
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Mon Mar 22, 2021 4:11 pm
This isn't over till it's over. Even if we don't care about poor people far away dying of yet another treatable disease, unless we keep the global economy in suspended animation for a few more years international travel means that new variants will keep arriving in the north. From a humanitarian perspective, at the very least we should get enough doses to COVAX to cover all healthcare workers globally.
From a global perspective, equality makes no sense. It's like 100 people have a headache, and giving each a hundredth of the effective dose of aspirin.
Well, not really.
Millennie Al wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 3:05 am
The optimal strategy is to attack the disease by region, eliminating it (or reducing it to very low numbers) in one place before moving on to the next region. The success of this can be seen in places like Australia and China, which have got the number of cases very low and so can have a mostly reopened economy. As such, the supply of vaccines should go to the places where they are most effectively being used. Note that the herd immunity effect means that you gain an extra bonus from vaccination once you reach the threshold where the disease can no longer grow its numbers.
When cases start going up we are barely fast enough to order lockdowns in time. But in Italy, special efforts were made to vaccinate everyone in some of the smaller areas which were designated local Red zones at the beginning of this wave (half the country is now a Red zone).
Millennie Al wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 3:05 am
The most important criterion is use of the vaccines. There should be no significant quantities stored anywhere as it should be going as fast as possible from factory into people. The UK and India are doing well by this criterion, parts of the EU are not so good, and the USA is very bad as it has been reported to have accumulated large stocks of the Oxford/AZ vaccine that it is unwilling to use pending approval but also unwilling to pass on to somewhere that would use it.
The EU is generally running at ~80% usage of whatever gets delivered. It seems like all the major EU countries (i.e. the ones I've thought to check) are more or less following the EU average vaccination rate.

We don't have tracking for how many doses the UK or the US has stocks of. In the US maybe they don't even know.
Millennie Al wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 3:05 am
A reasonable strategy for the UK to maximise its self-interest would to be vaccinate its own population, and then support vaccination in Ireland (due to the land border) and other European islands which are popular holiday destinations, such as Ibiza, Cyprus, Corfu, as that would provide an area within which people could travel fairly freely. It wuld also be very fast strategy as the populations are small enough to cover very quickly.
Resorts on Lake Como are already getting bookings for the summer from the UK and the US so now there's a case for giving workers in the tourism sector priority for vaccination (at least, for before the summer rather than after it, because the plan is still to do all the adults before the end of September).
molto tricky

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Re: Vaccine rollout on Planet Earth: A "catastrophic moral failure"

Post by Herainestold » Tue Mar 23, 2021 2:09 pm

shpalman wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 9:19 am

Resorts on Lake Como are already getting bookings for the summer from the UK and the US so now there's a case for giving workers in the tourism sector priority for vaccination (at least, for before the summer rather than after it, because the plan is still to do all the adults before the end of September).
That would be thinking ahead. Bet they don't do it.

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Re: Vaccine rollout on Planet Earth: A "catastrophic moral failure"

Post by jdc » Tue Mar 23, 2021 3:50 pm

shpalman wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 9:19 am
The EU is generally running at ~80% usage of whatever gets delivered. It seems like all the major EU countries (i.e. the ones I've thought to check) are more or less following the EU average vaccination rate.

We don't have tracking for how many doses the UK or the US has stocks of. In the US maybe they don't even know.
On vaccination rates in Europe, Sky had a handy 'doses per 100 people' chart here: https://news.sky.com/story/covid-19-wha ... e-12253761 Hungary I think had started to source their own supplies (think they've been using Sputnik) so they're doing a bit better, Latvia and Bulgaria are a bit behind for some reason, and the rest are fairly tightly packed together.

We don't have official figures for US stocks but we know they've a fair few AZ doses in stock: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/11/us/p ... tates.html
About 30 million doses are currently bottled at AstraZeneca’s facility in West Chester, Ohio, which handles “fill-finish,” the final phase of the manufacturing process during which the vaccine is placed in vials, one official with knowledge of the stockpile said.

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Re: Vaccine rollout on Planet Earth: A "catastrophic moral failure"

Post by Bird on a Fire » Tue Mar 23, 2021 3:56 pm

I keep reading that the AstraZeneca plant in the Netherlands still isn't approved by EU regulators - has anyone seen an explanation of what the problem is? Knowing nothing about such matters at all, I'm struggling to understand how they can get a bunch of other factories up and running but this one is apparently built(?) but not approved.
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Re: Vaccine rollout on Planet Earth: A "catastrophic moral failure"

Post by tom p » Tue Mar 23, 2021 4:10 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 3:56 pm
I keep reading that the AstraZeneca plant in the Netherlands still isn't approved by EU regulators - has anyone seen an explanation of what the problem is? Knowing nothing about such matters at all, I'm struggling to understand how they can get a bunch of other factories up and running but this one is apparently built(?) but not approved.
The word "still" is not really appropriate here. The NL factory is the latest one to be built, that's all. The Belgian one is already operational, but at massively insufficient levels, which is the source of the EU's gripes with AZ.
I posted a year ago that sensible governments would build a few factories in their own countries and then lease or sell them at cost to whoever got the first authorisations. A huge chunk of the cost of factories is identical to all of them (it's not like Pfizer's factory has special concrete of sewage pipes, after all). Had the dutch government done that, it would have meant that this factory would be a month or two further down the road by now.

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Re: Vaccine rollout on Planet Earth: A "catastrophic moral failure"

Post by Bird on a Fire » Tue Mar 23, 2021 4:13 pm

tom p wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 4:10 pm
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 3:56 pm
I keep reading that the AstraZeneca plant in the Netherlands still isn't approved by EU regulators - has anyone seen an explanation of what the problem is? Knowing nothing about such matters at all, I'm struggling to understand how they can get a bunch of other factories up and running but this one is apparently built(?) but not approved.
The word "still" is not really appropriate here. The NL factory is the latest one to be built, that's all. The Belgian one is already operational, but at massively insufficient levels, which is the source of the EU's gripes with AZ.
I posted a year ago that sensible governments would build a few factories in their own countries and then lease or sell them at cost to whoever got the first authorisations. A huge chunk of the cost of factories is identical to all of them (it's not like Pfizer's factory has special concrete of sewage pipes, after all). Had the dutch government done that, it would have meant that this factory would be a month or two further down the road by now.
Ah, fair enough, thanks. I have probably been underestimating the amount of work/time to approve a new factory once it was built. The coverage makes it sound like there's some kind of sticking point, but I'm increasingly aware (and dismayed) that journalists don't necessarily understand much more than I do.
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Re: Vaccine rollout on Planet Earth: A "catastrophic moral failure"

Post by shpalman » Tue Mar 23, 2021 4:24 pm

jdc wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 3:50 pm
shpalman wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 9:19 am
The EU is generally running at ~80% usage of whatever gets delivered. It seems like all the major EU countries (i.e. the ones I've thought to check) are more or less following the EU average vaccination rate.

We don't have tracking for how many doses the UK or the US has stocks of. In the US maybe they don't even know.
On vaccination rates in Europe, Sky had a handy 'doses per 100 people' chart here: https://news.sky.com/story/covid-19-wha ... e-12253761 ...
It's based on https://ourworldindata.org/covid-vaccinations

Specifically https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/covi ... ime=latest where you can choose which countries you want to see e.g. https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/covi ... VN~ESP~SWE
molto tricky

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Re: Vaccine rollout on Planet Earth: A "catastrophic moral failure"

Post by shpalman » Tue Mar 23, 2021 4:39 pm

jdc wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 3:50 pm
shpalman wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 9:19 am
The EU is generally running at ~80% usage of whatever gets delivered. It seems like all the major EU countries (i.e. the ones I've thought to check) are more or less following the EU average vaccination rate.

We don't have tracking for how many doses the UK or the US has stocks of. In the US maybe they don't even know.
On vaccination rates in Europe, Sky had a handy 'doses per 100 people' chart here: https://news.sky.com/story/covid-19-wha ... e-12253761 Hungary I think had started to source their own supplies (think they've been using Sputnik) so they're doing a bit better...
They've also been using China's Sinopharm, and have just approved Convidecia, a vaccine produced by Chinese company CanSino Biologics, and India's Covishield vaccine.

https://www.euronews.com/2021/03/22/cov ... -regulator
molto tricky

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Re: Vaccine rollout on Planet Earth: A "catastrophic moral failure"

Post by tom p » Tue Mar 23, 2021 4:45 pm

shpalman wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 4:39 pm
jdc wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 3:50 pm
shpalman wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 9:19 am
The EU is generally running at ~80% usage of whatever gets delivered. It seems like all the major EU countries (i.e. the ones I've thought to check) are more or less following the EU average vaccination rate.

We don't have tracking for how many doses the UK or the US has stocks of. In the US maybe they don't even know.
On vaccination rates in Europe, Sky had a handy 'doses per 100 people' chart here: https://news.sky.com/story/covid-19-wha ... e-12253761 Hungary I think had started to source their own supplies (think they've been using Sputnik) so they're doing a bit better...
They've also been using China's Sinopharm, and have just approved Convidecia, a vaccine produced by Chinese company CanSino Biologics, and India's Covishield vaccine.

https://www.euronews.com/2021/03/22/cov ... -regulator
yes, but only recently and thus far only in very small doses.
they have bought plenty though and expect to ramp up the use of it soon.
and they haven't used *that* much sputnik yet, but they will use an awful lot of it pretty soon

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Re: Vaccine rollout on Planet Earth: A "catastrophic moral failure"

Post by shpalman » Tue Mar 23, 2021 5:07 pm

tom p wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 4:45 pm
shpalman wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 4:39 pm
jdc wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 3:50 pm

On vaccination rates in Europe, Sky had a handy 'doses per 100 people' chart here: https://news.sky.com/story/covid-19-wha ... e-12253761 Hungary I think had started to source their own supplies (think they've been using Sputnik) so they're doing a bit better...
They've also been using China's Sinopharm, and have just approved Convidecia, a vaccine produced by Chinese company CanSino Biologics, and India's Covishield vaccine.

https://www.euronews.com/2021/03/22/cov ... -regulator
yes, but only recently and thus far only in very small doses.
they have bought plenty though and expect to ramp up the use of it soon.
and they haven't used *that* much sputnik yet, but they will use an awful lot of it pretty soon
Italy has only received 16.45 doses per 100 people via the EU so how has Hungary managed to give 21.93 doses per 100 people? Their population is 9.66 million so where have they got the extra half a million doses from?
molto tricky

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Re: Vaccine rollout on Planet Earth: A "catastrophic moral failure"

Post by tom p » Tue Mar 23, 2021 6:54 pm

shpalman wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 5:07 pm
tom p wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 4:45 pm
shpalman wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 4:39 pm


They've also been using China's Sinopharm, and have just approved Convidecia, a vaccine produced by Chinese company CanSino Biologics, and India's Covishield vaccine.

https://www.euronews.com/2021/03/22/cov ... -regulator
yes, but only recently and thus far only in very small doses.
they have bought plenty though and expect to ramp up the use of it soon.
and they haven't used *that* much sputnik yet, but they will use an awful lot of it pretty soon
Italy has only received 16.45 doses per 100 people via the EU so how has Hungary managed to give 21.93 doses per 100 people? Their population is 9.66 million so where have they got the extra half a million doses from?
Maybe their whole order of 400k sputniks has got through earlier than i thought

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Re: Vaccine rollout on Planet Earth: A "catastrophic moral failure"

Post by jdc » Tue Mar 23, 2021 9:54 pm

tom p wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 6:54 pm
shpalman wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 5:07 pm
tom p wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 4:45 pm

yes, but only recently and thus far only in very small doses.
they have bought plenty though and expect to ramp up the use of it soon.
and they haven't used *that* much sputnik yet, but they will use an awful lot of it pretty soon
Italy has only received 16.45 doses per 100 people via the EU so how has Hungary managed to give 21.93 doses per 100 people? Their population is 9.66 million so where have they got the extra half a million doses from?
Maybe their whole order of 400k sputniks has got through earlier than i thought
This from Jan suggests the 400k was the third delivery and they'd have already had 1.6m by the end of March: https://www.intellinews.com/hungary-bec ... ne-201046/
The vaccine will be delivered in three stages. The first shipment containing 600,000 doses will be delivered within 30 days. Russia will send Hungary 1mn doses in the second month and 400,000 in the third.
This also says they were expecting 600k in Feb https://www.irishtimes.com/business/hea ... -1.4484578 plus 500k Sinopharm and that at the time of writing they'd already started immunising people with Sputnik and given emergency approval to Sinopharm.

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Re: Vaccine rollout on Planet Earth: A "catastrophic moral failure"

Post by tom p » Wed Mar 24, 2021 11:25 am

jdc wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 9:54 pm
tom p wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 6:54 pm
shpalman wrote:
Tue Mar 23, 2021 5:07 pm

Italy has only received 16.45 doses per 100 people via the EU so how has Hungary managed to give 21.93 doses per 100 people? Their population is 9.66 million so where have they got the extra half a million doses from?
Maybe their whole order of 400k sputniks has got through earlier than i thought
This from Jan suggests the 400k was the third delivery and they'd have already had 1.6m by the end of March: https://www.intellinews.com/hungary-bec ... ne-201046/
The vaccine will be delivered in three stages. The first shipment containing 600,000 doses will be delivered within 30 days. Russia will send Hungary 1mn doses in the second month and 400,000 in the third.
This also says they were expecting 600k in Feb https://www.irishtimes.com/business/hea ... -1.4484578 plus 500k Sinopharm and that at the time of writing they'd already started immunising people with Sputnik and given emergency approval to Sinopharm.
I hadn't seen those more recent updates, just older articles.
Thanks

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Re: Vaccine rollout on Planet Earth: A "catastrophic moral failure"

Post by shpalman » Wed Mar 24, 2021 1:21 pm

molto tricky

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Re: Vaccine rollout on Planet Earth: A "catastrophic moral failure"

Post by Millennie Al » Thu Mar 25, 2021 4:47 am

The Telegraph says here:
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/0 ... nravelled/
that 16 million of these doses were awaiting internal shipment within Europe, and the other 13 million were destined for distribution via COVAX.

While I undertand the feeling of urgency, I doubt that raiding factories is going to make them produce vaccine any faster.
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Re: Vaccine rollout on Planet Earth: A "catastrophic moral failure"

Post by shpalman » Thu Mar 25, 2021 6:38 pm

Millennie Al wrote:
Thu Mar 25, 2021 4:47 am
The Telegraph says here:
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/0 ... nravelled/
that 16 million of these doses were awaiting internal shipment within Europe, and the other 13 million were destined for distribution via COVAX.

While I undertand the feeling of urgency, I doubt that raiding factories is going to make them produce vaccine any faster.
As far as I know, they're still there.

21m doses of Covid vaccine have been exported to the UK from suppliers based in the EU, of which just over 1 million were from AstraZeneca
The UK does not ban the export of vaccines, but the government signed a contract with AstraZeneca that obliges the Anglo-Swedish company to deliver doses produced in Oxford and Staffordshire to Britain first.
The EU has suffered from a major supply shortfall of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine because of a yield problem at a plant in Belgium and the company’s subsequent refusal to divert doses made in the UK. Of the 120m promised doses this quarter, just 30m are expected to be delivered.
molto tricky

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Re: Vaccine rollout on Planet Earth: A "catastrophic moral failure"

Post by shpalman » Fri Apr 02, 2021 10:26 am

The world's poorest countries are at India's mercy for vaccines
Exactly one year ago, researchers at Oxford University’s Jenner Institute, frontrunners in the race to develop a coronavirus vaccine, stated that they intended to allow any manufacturer, anywhere, the rights to their jab. One of the early licences they signed was with the Serum Institute, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer. One month later, acting on advice from the Gates Foundation, Oxford changed course and signed over exclusive rights to AstraZeneca, a UK-based multinational pharmaceutical group.

AstraZeneca and Serum signed a new deal. Serum would produce vaccines for all poor countries eligible for assistance by Gavi, the Vaccines Alliance – an organisation backed by rich countries’ governments and the Gates Foundation. These 92 nations together counted for half the world – or nearly four billion people. India’s fair share of these vaccines, by population, should have been 35%. However there was an unwritten arrangement that Serum would earmark 50% of its supply for domestic use and 50% for export.

The deal included a clause that allowed AstraZeneca to approve exports to countries not listed in the agreement. Some countries which asked for emergency vaccine shipments from Serum, including South Africa and Brazil, were justified: they had nothing else. Rich countries like the UK and Canada, however, which had bought up more doses than required to vaccinate their people, to the detriment of everyone else, had no moral right to dip into a pool of vaccines designated for poor countries.

Paradoxically, when South Africa and India asked the World Trade Organization to temporarily waive patents and other pharmaceutical monopolies so that vaccines could be manufactured more widely to prevent shortfalls in supply, among the first countries to object were the UK, Canada and Brazil. They were the very governments that would later be asking India to solve their own shortfalls in supply.
molto tricky

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Re: Vaccine rollout on Planet Earth: A "catastrophic moral failure"

Post by shpalman » Thu Apr 22, 2021 2:57 pm

molto tricky

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Re: Vaccine rollout on Planet Earth: A "catastrophic moral failure"

Post by Herainestold » Thu Apr 22, 2021 4:26 pm

"What can we do in practical terms if AstraZeneca says, 'Take a closer look at our production sites: We just have no vaccines,'" the diplomat said, adding that some countries were "not assured this is enforceable."
EU should take over the AZ production facilities. No more exports except to COVAX.

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Re: Vaccine rollout on Planet Earth: A "catastrophic moral failure"

Post by shpalman » Thu Apr 22, 2021 6:00 pm

COVAX is also teh fail

We could discuss if India might have been ever so slightly better off at this point if it hadn't sent all those doses to the UK.
molto tricky

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