Experts agree that the Covid-19 epidemic will be eradicated by vaccinating society. Vaccination is very important for this. How long will it take for everyone in the world to get the Covid vaccine?
President of the World Health Organization (WHO) Dr. “Vaccines are an important source of hope to stop the epidemic,” says Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
“To fully protect the world, we must ensure that everyone at risk is vaccinated, not just in countries where they can be vaccinated.”
Although vaccines are known to play a key role in the fight against the epidemic, there are many barriers to vaccination programs.
For example, the attitude of some countries and government societies to the supply of vaccines has been criticized as a kind of “vaccination nationalism.” This approach is said to “send poor countries behind the vaccination queue.”
Hesitation in vaccination in society, difficulties in production and supply problems are also major obstacles to ensuring “community immunity” in the global sense.
But what kind of schedule do we have to reach the level where Covid-19 will be defeated in the global vaccination schedule?
How are vaccination programs going?
Vaccination programs against Covid-19 have been launched in many countries. However, the discrepancy between supply and demand has not yet been resolved.
About 565 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in 138 countries to date, according to the Global Data website, which provides statistics from around the world.
As of March 30, the number of vaccine doses given in 24 hours was 13.9 million.
Although these figures may seem high at first glance, it means that only 7.2 percent of the world’s population, estimated to be close to 7.8 billion, have been vaccinated at least once.
If vaccination continues at the same pace, it can take more than 3 years for everyone in the world to be vaccinated. It should also be noted that almost all available vaccines require two doses to fully protect.
According to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), a research section of the Economist magazine, the adult population in developed economies will be vaccinated by mid-2022.
In middle-income countries, this calendar may extend to the end of 2022 or the beginning of 2023. In poor countries, vaccination of adults can continue until 2024.
What vaccines are used?
The vaccine, developed jointly with Pfizer and BioNTech, was the first Covid-19 vaccine to receive regulatory approval. The first confirmation was given on December 2 in the UK. This was followed by approvals by the United States, the European Union (EU) and the WHO.
Later, the vaccine, developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca, Moderna in the United States, Sinovac and Sinopharm in China, and Sputnik V vaccines in Russia, was widely used.
The results of mass testing of two more vaccines were recently announced. The Johnson & Johnson-owned Novavax vaccine and the Janssen vaccine are still under review by regulators.
In countries such as Israel and the United Kingdom, where the majority of the population is vaccinated with at least one dose, there are strong indications that vaccines reduce hospital admissions and deaths, and even prevent the spread of the virus.
More than 200 vaccine candidates around the world continue to undergo safety and protection tests. As new vaccines are approved and launched, the global vaccination program can be expected to expand significantly.
On the other hand, although vaccine development processes are developing at an unprecedented rate, there is an unstable and unstable process in the production and spread of vaccines around the world.
What is ‘vaccination nationalism’?
The term “vaccination nationalism” is used to describe the greedy and unjust steps taken by governments to obtain vaccines for their own people, regardless of whether other countries have been vaccinated.
Wealthy countries are trying to produce more vaccines than they need through bilateral agreements with pharmaceutical companies.
Canada, for example, has ordered five times the total number of vaccines needed to vaccinate the entire population. On the other hand, he also demanded some overdoses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines in the United States.
Similarly, the UK is accused of collecting vaccines. Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Foundation, which focuses on health research, said he would have the right amount of vaccine to vaccinate the entire population of the UK.
“We also need to start thinking beyond our borders. Unused doses in the UK need to be shared with the countries where they are needed. This is not an ethical issue, it is a scientific and economic commitment.
The EU, which is struggling with its vaccination program, is reluctant to seek export controls on vaccines produced across its borders.
Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, an international partnership set up in 2000 to increase vaccine acceptance in poor countries, said the resolution of the Covid crisis would be delayed if the current picture continued.
“If governments continue to adopt vaccine nationalism and producers continue to share vaccines only with those who offer high prices, the crisis will continue for as long as the 2009 swine flu vaccine.”
“If the vaccine does not have access to the whole world, the virus can continue to circulate, mutate and adapt more strongly to humans. It is in everyone’s interest.”
Do vaccines go where they are needed?
Many middle-income and most low-income countries rely on the vaccines of the Covax vaccination coalition.
Covax is a global initiative that aims to give all countries equal access to the coronavirus vaccine, regardless of income level. It is headed by the United Nations (UN) agency, the WHO and two vaccination advocacy groups.
Covax aims to give 6 billion doses to low-income countries, of which 2 billion will be delivered in 2021.
So far, 32 million doses of vaccine have been given to 70 countries through Covax.
It is estimated that it will be among the last countries to vaccinate the population of African countries. These countries are closely linked to the Covax program.
Ghana became the first country to benefit from the vaccination coalition, but only 600,000 vaccines were given to a country of 31 million people.
BBC Africa Health Editor Anne Mawathe said countries that do not pre-order pharmaceutical companies are more likely to eventually buy vaccines at a higher price than Western countries.
“Many say big pharmaceutical companies need to share patents so that more vaccines can be produced at lower prices. But companies don’t want to do that because they’re going to lower profits.”
How do new options affect vaccines?
Since all viruses are known to mutate, new variants of the coronavirus were expected to emerge.
However, the options in the UK, Brazil and South Africa came to the fore as mutations that alter the rate of spread of the virus.
There is no evidence that these options make the disease more severe, and many experts believe that vaccines will continue to work against them.
However, if the Covid-19 epidemic continues to spread worldwide, the emergence of new vaccine-resistant variants is worrying.
In the worst case scenario, vaccines can be adapted to new options. This process can take weeks or months.
In this case, as in the case of seasonal flu, it may be necessary to re-vaccinate each year for new variants of the coronavirus.
What is vaccination hesitation?
Public skepticism about Covid vaccines is one of the biggest barriers to global immunization.
Vaccination is slow in some rich countries, despite a sufficient supply of vaccines. According to opinion polls, almost half of the population in France and Japan do not want to be vaccinated.
Germany and Italy have stopped using the AstraZeneca vaccine despite experiencing a third wave of the epidemic and called on the WHO to issue a statement on the safety of the vaccine.
Vaccination hesitations in developed countries can also spread to low-income countries.
Experts warn that global immunization will be delayed if fluctuations in vaccination affect vaccination processes.
How do we achieve community immunity?
Community immunity, also known as “herd immunity,” is achieved when a significant portion of the population is inviolable. This is usually done with the help of vaccines.
While the vast majority are immune to the disease, others are less likely to be infected.
95 percent of the population should be vaccinated against measles and 80 percent against polio.
Since Covid-19 is a new disease, the level of immunity required for public immunity is still unknown. However, epidemic experts estimate that this percentage will be 70 percent.
On the other hand, some experts seem to increase this rate slightly over time. Anthony Fauci, a senior medical adviser to US President Joe Biden, suggests that the immunity ratio required for community immunity should be between 70 and 90 percent.
Can Covid-19 be completely completed?
Professor Chris Whitty, the UK government’s chief health adviser, thinks it is “very difficult” to completely destroy Covid-19.
Whitty recalls that with one effective vaccine so far, only one disease has been eliminated for a long time.
However, this does not mean that vaccinations are ineffective.
According to experts, it is possible that Covid-19 will continue to exist as a seasonal disease.
In this case, the importance of vaccines will increase.
Professor Azra Ghani from Imperial College says the main purpose of the Covid-19 vaccine is to save lives. The way to do this is to ensure the immunity of society and prevent the spread of the virus.
“It’s been a year since the virus was identified, but our speed in developing vaccines has exceeded expectations. Our scientific knowledge about the virus is growing. If not, we can hope that life will return to normal. To eradicate the virus completely,” Ghani said.