There’s no evidence yet that top-up shots are needed, so let’s help those around the world who urgently need the vaccine
- Andrew Pollard is director of the Oxford Vaccine Group at the University of Oxford; Seth Berkley is the chief executive of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance
Since early 2020, the tragic reality of the pandemic has unfolded, killing millions, disrupting normal social interactions, destabilising economies and plunging the world into uncertainty. Between 4.3 and 11.6 million people have died. Amid this deepening gloom, vaccines have brought hope. Their development is a triumph of science; the manufacture and deployment of 4.4bn doses by a handful of developers is astonishing, joyous. In the UK alone, 87m doses have been administered, saving more than 84,000 lives. Globally, the number of lives saved by vaccines is expected to be in the millions.
So why is there still so much suffering around the world? Thousands of people are still dying of Covid every week. Hospitals are overwhelmed and many countries are in despair, urgently pleading for vaccines because they have virtually none. We are in this position simply because the doses we have are not being distributed first to those who are at highest risk of getting seriously ill or worse yet, dying. The vast majority of people who will die of Covid this year could have been saved if we had got this right. Vaccinating those at risk everywhere is in our self-interest. It may reduce the risk of new variants arising, and will relieve pressure on health systems, open travel, resuscitate the global economy, and raise the international authority of politicians prepared to take such moral leadership.
Read the original article at The Guardian