Developing nations will lag behind due to poor infrastructure and fewer healthcare workers
Covid-19 vaccination programmes in Bangladesh and many other developing countries will not have widespread access to vaccines before 2023 due to the poor infrastructure, fewer healthcare workers, and inadequate refrigeration, a study said on Wednesday.
Titled "Coronavirus vaccines: expect delays", the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) study said Covid-19 immunisation programmes have begun in many countries but there is a mismatch between supply and demand.
It said rich countries would get access to vaccines earlier than others as the bulk of the adult population of advanced economies would have been vaccinated by mid-2022.
Vaccination timeline could extend to early 2023 for many middle-income countries and as far out as 2024 for poorer economies, the study noted.
Using four legends on a global map, the report presented the timelines of widespread vaccination coverage for different countries – late 2021, mid-2022, late 2022, and early 2023 onwards.
According to the map, all South Asian countries, except for India, are likely to achieve widespread vaccination coverage from early 2023 and onwards.
Most of the countries in Africa are unlikely to get widespread vaccination coverage before early 2023, while many Asian countries will have broad access to vaccines by late 2022.
Among Asian countries, Hong Kong and Singapore will have broad access to vaccines by late 2021. Vietnam will get widespread coverage by mid-2022.
Vaccination programmes in China and India will stretch until late 2022 due to the sheer size of their population, and the same timeline applies to Thailand.
Rich countries will be the first to vaccinate their population. Countries at the front of the queue, including the UK, the US, and most European Union nations, are expected to have immunised their priority groups by the end of March, with other wealthy countries catching up by June-end.
The study said Russia, which developed its own vaccines, could be on a similar schedule to developed countries, with mass immunisation completed by mid-2022.
Why widespread coverage will be delayed?
The rollout of vaccines has started in developed countries, but mass immunisation will take time, said the study.
It said many advanced countries had pre-ordered more doses than they need. Of the 12.5 billion doses that the main vaccine producers have so far pledged to produce in 2021, 6.4 billion have already been pre-ordered, most of them by wealthy countries.
For instance, Canada has secured supplies equivalent to five times its population.
Another reason is that mass immunisation programmes will not be cheap. The costs associated with vaccine rollouts are more than just the price of the product itself, and many developing countries will struggle to finance the additional expenditures.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wednesday inaugurated the vaccination programme, which aims to vaccinate 20% of the country's population with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.