The World Health Organization said Friday that wealthy countries need to make COVID vaccines immediately available as not enough doses are being supplied to achieve the goal of reaching 10% of the world with 250 million doses by September.
Dr. Bruce Aylward, a senior WHO advisor, addressed journalists at a UN press briefing in Geneva, saying that only a portion of vaccines pledged or planned for has been delivered.
The WHO would like to have at least 30-40% of the world vaccinated this year.
"We've got to get another 250 million people vaccinated between now and the end of September," said Aylward.
With 70 million vaccines promised, he said: "We're going to need twice that much. ... But we're setting up for failure if we don't get early doses."
Two billion doses have been delivered across the world in 212 countries, and the WHO's COVAX facility aiming at equitable access to vaccines has reached 127 countries, said Aylward, also the head of the WHO's Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator.
"If we look at those 2 billion doses, over 75% of them have gone to just 10 countries, and three countries, China, the US, and India, account for about 60% of those doses," said the WHO advisor.
"And if we look at the other end of the spectrum of the low-income countries, only about 0.5% of doses globally have gone to the lowest income countries that account for about 10% of the world's population."
For lower-middle-income countries, it's only fractionally higher in terms of coverage.
"So, we increasingly see a two-track recovery and rollout of the vaccines with that high coverage deep into the high-risk populations and younger populations, even in high income and producing countries," said Aylward.
"We are not on track yet. We don't have enough confirmed doses from enough countries early enough to get the world on track to get out of this, with the speed with which it should be to save lives."
The world needs "a sprint to September" to achieve at least a 10% of all countries' population to be vaccinated.
He said an IMF report states that the world must intensify the rollout so that 40% of the population are vaccinated this year and 60% by mid-next year and would enable an over $9 trillion benefit to the world economy.
The WHO needs 250 million doses by September, "and we need 100 million doses just in June and July. G7 nations are in a unique position to pool doses and make this happen," added Aylward.