The US should send its excess vaccines to countries that need them

Vaccination rates in the US are slowing down as the people who want to take it have increasingly done so, leaving mostly the so-called vaccine-hesitant and the vaccine deniers. The US is reaching a point where there are excess stocks of unused vaccines.

The United States could have around 300 million excess Covid-19 shots by the end of July, health policy experts at Duke University estimated in a report Thursday, calling on the country to share doses more widely to address the stark inequality around global vaccine distribution.

The US has provided limited shipments of AstraZeneca’s vaccine — which is not yet authorized for use in the United States — to Mexico and Canada, but US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said it won’t share shots more broadly until the country is “more confident” in its own supplies.

The US is the biggest financial donor to the global vaccine-sharing scheme COVAX, but the country has been tight-fisted with the actual vaccines it has in huge supply, while many others have none at all. Three-quarters of the world’s vaccines actually administered have been in just 10 nations, which together account for under half the world’s population.

“The world’s wealthiest nations have locked up much of the near-term supply. At the current rate vaccines are being administered, 92 of the world’s poorest countries won’t vaccinate 60% of their populations until 2023 or later,” wrote Dr. Krishna Udayakumar and Dr. Mark McClellan, health experts at Duke.

Maybe the US should announce a deadline for people to get vaccinated and that any that remain after that date will be shipped to other countries that are desperately in need of them. That may light a fire under those who are not getting it. The idea that they may lose out altogether may persuade some people who, while they scoff at the idea of getting vaccinated, can’t bear the thought of foreigners getting something that they still think is theirs.


  1. Rob Grigjanis says

    The richer countries should have been sharing their vaccines from the beginning. It’s in their own interest to do so. If the virus is out there flourishing and mutating, it doesn’t really matter if you’ve vaccinated your own population, because any number of variants will come in and bite you in the arse. A fine example of short-sighted, self-defeating selfishness.

    It should have been a global exercise from the start.

  2. Deepak Shetty says

    A fine example of short-sighted, self-defeating selfishness.

    But this strategy works so well in the unregulated free market capitalist economies. Atleast it does for Devos,Koch,Mercers and co

  3. Matt G says

    Hey Republicans, why not get vaccinated so them durn furriners don’t get what’s rightfully yours!

  4. brucegee1962 says

    @6 Patrick Slattery
    That would be the case if the goal of the politicians was to improve the lives of the citizens. But if their goal is just to stay in office, results show that it’s better to let things get bad so you can blame the Democrats than to let things improve and take the credit yourself. So…

  5. Who Cares says

    The biggest problem I have is that excess shots is not well defined. Do they mean that the US will have 300 million more units of vaccine then needed to inoculate the entire US population? Or do they mean that the US will have the roughly 200 million shots still needed, plus a reserve, to vaccinate all the people in the US still not (fully) vaccinated at that point.

    @Rob Grigjanis(#1) is right that we should help out other nations as well. But even the COVAX initiative, which was based on the assumption of mass availability of the AZ vaccine, is to date only funded at a bit over 40% ($6.6 billion of $16 billion, $1.4 billion short for target goal this year).
    That said the goodwill games that China and Russia (both are also conspicuously absent from the COVAX donor list) have been playing with vaccines have been less then successful. The vaccine the Chinese are exporting clocking in at 50% effectiveness (my bet is that the adenovirus used as vector being more prevalent outside China). The Russians having such a limited production capacity that they are letting anyone and their dog have a shot at making it, Emergent looks like a paragon of quality assurance compared to what is happening in Russia, the result being that you literally don’t know what you will be getting (Slovakia bought 2 million doses, got 6 different forms of the vaccine, none of which were the one the Russians submitted to the AME).

    @Patrick Slattery(#4):
    You mean don’t bother sending the bill through congress then. And yes that will be the outcome of your suggestion, 0 states eligible. Just check the numbers in this article, then extrapolate.

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