Our Covid-19 vaccination table includes updated information on the immunization strategies selected EMs are pursuing and the challenges they face.
Below are some of this week’s key developments. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you want to discuss any of the countries mentioned in more detail.
- Africa is quickly falling further behind in the global vaccine race, with just over 1% of the population vaccinated to date.
- Colombia has reported a vaccine wastage rate of only 0.04% (or fewer than 800 doses out of 6.3mn administered so far), easing concerns about logistical difficulties affecting the vaccine roll-out, especially in more remote and/or higher temperature regions.
- In Chile, the medical union (Colegio Medico) has questioned the value of any local “vaccine passport” because the effectiveness of the widely-applied Sinovac vaccine at reducing transmission is relatively low at 60%.
- Hungary’s vaccine roll-out is slowing as the share of the population that has received at least one jab is approaching 50%. Public demand for AstraZeneca (AZ), Sinopharm and Sputnik V vaccines appears low.
- Indonesia’s Health Minister reported high effectivity of China’s Sinovac vaccine; according to Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin, protection from death was 100%, while the risk of severe infections requiring hospitalization decreased by 96%.
- Poland will shorten the period between administering the first and second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Vaxzevria vaccines to 35 days starting 17 May. Currently, the gap is 42 days for Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines and 82 days for AZ.
- The Thai government is considering focusing its vaccinations on Bangkok and other major cities, both to help the economy and on the assumption that transmission risk is highest in these areas.
- African countries that have received their first COVAX deliveries are expected to experience a supply gap as early as May or June as a result of India’s export restrictions. Officials hope that the WHO’s approval of the Sinopharm-produced vaccine may pave the way for COVAX to secure additional vaccine supplies from China.
- The first vaccines from Argentina and Mexico’s joint production of the AZ vaccine are expected to be ready by the end of May; the two countries in 2020 reached a production agreement to supply Latin America (except Brazil) with vaccines.
- In Brazil, 32.9mn doses of Covid-19 vaccines are expected to be delivered in May – 27% more than in April. Uncertainty over the import of Coronavac’s active pharmaceutical ingredient (IFA) from China, however, may affect the vaccination roll-out from June onwards.
- The World Health Organization approved China’s Sinopharm vaccine for emergency use and is likely to do the same for Sinovac in the coming days. These approvals will clear the way for these vaccines to be included in COVAX.
- Nigeria announced plans to procure 29.6mn doses of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine through the African Union’s African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT). This would be the first major batch of vaccines procured outside the COVAX framework, through which Nigeria had received an initial delivery of 3.9mn doses of the Astra Zeneca vaccine on 2 March. Unlike with COVAX, Nigeria will have to pay for procurements via AVATT.
Infections and new variants
- In South Africa, the first signs of a potential ‘third wave’ are emerging, alongside the first confirmed cases of the B.1.617.2 and B.1.1.7 variants. The same variants have also been detected in Kenyaand elsewhere across Southern and Eastern Africa.
- Official infection rates across sub-Saharan Africa remain relatively low (not least due to limited testing), but concerns about an “India scenario” are emerging amid a proliferation of variants.
- Taiwan re-imposed limits on crowded gatherings amid fear that low vaccination rates could lead to renewed outbreaks. Indoor gatherings are limited to fewer than 100 people, while outdoor events are capped at 500 for four weeks beginning on 11 May.
- Fosun Pharmaceutical, a privately-owned Chinese company, struck a deal to form a USD 200mn joint venture with Germany‘s BioNTech to build a factory in China capable of producing 1bn doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The deal suggests that Chinese authorities may see non-Chinese mRNA vaccines as preferable to Chinese inactivated virus vaccines in the long run.
- Peru’s government has been lobbying the Joe Biden administration to release some of its surplus stock of vaccines to Peru; the surplus mainly comprises AZ vaccines that have not yet received FDA clearance.
- Russia‘s Ministry of Health registered on 6 May an export-oriented Sputnik Light vaccine. A one-component vaccine will be produced by nine facilities in Russia and is expected to be rolled out by the end of 2021.
- The US government has announced its backing for an Intellectual Property (IP) protection waiver for Covid-19 vaccines at the World Trade Organization (WTO) – an initiative spearheaded by India and South Africa – but Europe’s leaders have pushed for increased vaccine production and exports instead.