Without a mass vaccination campaign globally in a short time, the variants of Covid are destined to take over and risk making current vaccines ineffective. This is what emerges from a survey carried out by the People’s old alliance (Pva) of which Oxfam and Emergency are members.
According to 2/3 of the 77 epidemiologists interviewed from 28 different countries, we have a maximum of one year to avoid nullifying the effectiveness of the first generation vaccines developed so far and to contain the mutations of the virus: a third of them believe that time is less than 9 months while less than 1 in 8 estimates that the vaccines available will work whatever the mutation. The overwhelming majority of epidemiologists (88%) also think that if vaccination coverage is not increased in many countries, the emergence of vaccine-resistant variants of the virus could be encouraged.
According to the calculations of the VAT, at the current rate, however, only 10% of the population in most developing countries will be vaccinated in the next year. Nearly three-quarters of the experts involved believe that technology sharing and the suspension of intellectual property are the tools to increase world dose production.
“As long as only a part of the world population will have access to vaccines, – explains Antonino Di Caro, virologist of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases Lazzaro Spallanzani in Rome – the virus will have the possibility to circulate, to replicate quickly and therefore to mutate. The data we have today suggests that we don’t have much time, probably between 9 months and 1 year, before mutations in the virus develop and spread that reduce the effectiveness of currently available vaccines. This is a war that rich countries do not. they can win alone “. The survey therefore shows how crucial it is to guarantee access to Covid vaccines as soon as possible even in the poorest countries, given that the current inequality of access only gives the variants of the virus time to multiply.
“Although it is now clear that only the sharing of technology and the suspension of intellectual property can guarantee an increase in available doses, we are still witnessing – said Sara Albiani, global health manager of Oxfam Italia and Rossella Miccio, president of Emergency – in the defense of Big Pharma monopolies by rich countries, with the consequence that a handful of pharmaceutical giants decide who should live or die. Right at the beginning of March we witnessed the blocking of the proposal put forward by India and South Africa to suspend property rights At this moment – they underline – the millions of people who have already been vaccinated in the US, UK or European countries feel safer, but as the results of the survey presented today show, there is a very high risk that without a radical change in vaccine access policies, all efforts made so far could be in vain. Exible vaccines even in poor countries means today more than ever to protect us all “.