Of the Covid-19 jabs, the two Chinese vaccines — Sinovac and Sinopharm — cornered the largest volume shares at 21% and 19% (2.3 billion and 2.1 billion doses) respectively, while the share of India’s Serum Institute of India (SII) stood at 13% or 1.5 billion doses, according to UNICEF’s year in review.
In India alone, the use of SII-manufactured Covishield is around 1.4 billion doses till now.
As against this, in the pre-Covid era, the vaccine market for poliovirus vaccine — the largest global vaccine market (by volume) in 2019 — stood at 1.5 billion doses, whereas for seasonal influenza, it stood at 0.5 billion doses. Further, the 5.5 billion vaccines used for routine immunization included 85 different vaccines for different illnesses.
The data highlights the inequity marked by the highly uneven global distribution of Covid-19 vaccines. High-income countries received close to 200 doses per 100 inhabitants compared to less than 20 doses per 100 inhabitants in low-income countries.
Even though the World Health Organization called for a moratorium on Covid-19 booster jabs until the end of 2021, their administration in rich nations increased drastically at the end of the year to fight the Omicron variant.
Looking ahead, the focus for new vaccine supply agreements will be on pediatric, boosters and/or new variant-specific vaccines, it adds.
Earlier, 115 countries entered into 515 supply agreements for 17.8 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines secured in addition to 5.3 billion optional doses.
The rich nations had already managed to secure large volumes of doses by the end of 2020, whereas upper-middle income countries entered into supply agreements with a few months’ lag time and at significantly lower volumes. Lower-middle income countries were only able to secure an increasing number of doses via bilateral agreements from the second quarter of 2021 onwards, with the majority of those doses going to only a few countries.
In less than a year since the first Covid-19 vaccines were introduced in the market, 33 different jabs have been approved for use by at least one national regulatory authority, the data said.
The five vaccine producers — Sinovac, Sinopharm, Pfizer/BioNTech, SII and AstraZeneca — together comprised 80% of the total Covid vaccine market (by volume). Pfizer/BioNTech’s messenger RNA vaccine’s share stood at 18% (2 billion doses) and AstraZeneca’s at 8% (0.9 billion) in the global tally.