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High-Income Countries Have Secured the Bulk of COVID-19 Vaccines

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High-income countries have reserved more than half of the world’s coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine doses despite representing just 14% of the world’s population, according to an analysis of publicly available data on premarket purchase agreements.

The data show that 7.48 billion doses—enough to fully vaccinate about half the world’s population with 2 shots—had been secured as of mid-November 2020. But so far, high-income countries have acquired 51% of the doses, leaving the remainder for low- and middle-income countries where 86% of the global population lives, according to the authors.

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High-income countries have reserved more than half of the world’s coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine doses despite representing just 14% of the world’s population, according to an analysis of publicly available data on premarket purchase agreements.

The data show that 7.48 billion doses—enough to fully vaccinate about half the world’s population with 2 shots—had been secured as of mid-November 2020. But so far, high-income countries have acquired 51% of the doses, leaving the remainder for low- and middle-income countries where 86% of the global population lives, according to the authors.

For example, the US is home to about 330 million people, or 4% of the world’s population. But it has reserved 800 million doses, enough to vaccinate 400 million people. Although the US had about one-fifth of all cases worldwide at the time of the analysis, other high-income countries with smaller populations and lower COVID-19 case numbers had secured a larger share of reserved vaccines. For example, the authors found that Japan, Canada, and Australia have a combined population of less than 200 million, but they’ve reserved a total of 1 billion doses despite accounting for only 1% of COVID-19 cases worldwide.

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