Saturday 04 December 2021

Dutch trail on plans to donate vaccines, less than 10% of target met so far

Photo: Depositphotos.com

The Netherlands has so far only shipped 2.15 million coronavirus vaccines to developing countries, less than 10% of its target 27 million doses before the end of the year.

Most – 21 million – should have been distributed through the international Covax programme, set up and supported by the European Commission and Bill Gates, while the rest would be donated directly by the Dutch.

But so far, just 1.4 million doses have gone to Covax, and 745,000 have been donated directly to countries such as Indonesia, Suriname and Cape Verdi.

The aim of the Covax programme is to vaccinate 20% of the population in 92 middle and lower income countries before the end of the year.

However, a new report by Oxfam A Dose of Reality, found that of the 1.8 billion Covid vaccine donations promised by rich nations, only 261 million doses -14% – have been delivered to date

‘The failure of rich country donations and the failure of Covax have the same root cause – we have given over control of vaccine supply to a small number of pharmaceutical companies, who are prioritising their own profits,’ said Oxfam’s Robbie Silverman.

‘These companies can’t produce enough to vaccinate the world, they are artificially constraining the supply, and they will always put their rich customers at the front of the line. The only way to end the pandemic is to share the technology, and know-how with other qualified manufacturers so that everyone, everywhere can have access to these lifesaving vaccines.’

Difficult

Health minister Hugo de Jonge told MPs at the end of September that donations via Covax are difficult because the organisation will only accept vaccines delivered directly from the factories. ‘Donating medicine is always complex and bound by strict rules,’ De Jonge said.

The Netherlands still has 20 million doses on order this year. Of them, 10.5 million from Pfizer and AstraZeneca will go straight to Covax in the coming weeks, the health ministry told broadcaster NOS.

‘We still plan to have met the 27 million target by the end of the year,’ the spokesman said.

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