While the richest nations have been vaccinating large numbers of their populations, many poorer countries have not had the same access to vaccines. And health experts have warned that unless more COVID shots were donated, the virus will continue to spread and mutate.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, in London for the finance ministers meeting, said it was urgent for the richest nations to promote vaccinations in poorer countries that could not afford to buy them.
She also repeated the U.S. position that patent rights should be removed for the vaccines, and said they were doing everything they could to address supply chain problems that were preventing a build-up of shots in other parts of the world.
Britain has ordered more than 500 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine for its population of 67 million and says it will donate any shots it does not need.
Meanwhile, the Centre on Saturday defended its liberalised vaccine policy and said the media reports suggesting inequities in distribution of doses were “inaccurate and speculative in nature”. It said the vaccine policy that came into effect from May 1 reduces the “operational stress” on state-run vaccination facilities.
“It is reiterated that the Liberalised Vaccine policy, which envisages a larger role for the private sector and the centre, is setting aside 25% of vaccines for the private sector. This mechanism facilitates better access and reduces the operational stress on Government Vaccination facilities in terms of those who could afford to pay and would prefer to go to a private hospital,” it said in a statement.