People working on a mural in front of Tambaram Railway Station in Chennai, India on July 4, 2021. India is one of the world’s largest donors of Covid-19 vaccines.

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The US is the world’s largest donor of Covid-19 vaccines – well ahead of other major economies such as China, Japan and the UK, according to public data compiled by UNICEF.

UNICEF is a United Nations organization responsible for the protection and development of children. It also manages the supply of Covid vaccines for the COVAX initiative, which aims to share doses with lower income countries.

The agency consolidated data on donated Covid vaccines from publicly available information, which may not show the full extent of global donations.

Still, the data gives insight into vaccine donation flows as rich countries move forward with their vaccination campaigns, while many developing countries struggle to vaccinate their populations.

Donations are missing

The US has donated and delivered more than 114 million doses of Covid vaccines to around 80 mostly developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, the data showed. That’s more than three times the 34 million China has donated according to the data.

China is the world’s second largest donor of Covid vaccines, while Japan ranks third with around 23.3 million, according to data compiled by UNICEF.

Asian countries are among the top recipients of Covid vaccine donations, with Bangladesh, the Philippines, Indonesia and Pakistan each receiving more than 10 million donated doses, the data showed.

In total, more than 207 million doses of donated Covid vaccines – bilaterally or via COVAX – have been delivered, the data showed. That is below the number of doses recommended by an independent panel of the World Health Organization.

In its final report in May, the independent panel recommended that high-income countries redistribute at least one billion doses of Covid vaccines to low- and middle-income countries by September 1 and an additional billion doses by mid-2022.

Two of the leading WHO epidemiologists on Tuesday condemned wealthy nations for hoarding Covid treatments and vaccines. One of them said that such actions will prolong the pandemic.

A study by the analysis company Airfinity has shown that rich countries have bought more Covid vaccines than they need. Airfinity predicts the US, European Union, UK, Canada and Japan will have over 1.2 billion doses in excess by 2021 after vaccinating and giving booster shots to all eligible individuals.

Costs of vaccination inequality

The WHO aims to help each country vaccinate at least 10% of its population by the end of this month, before increasing it to at least 40% by the end of this year and to 70% by mid-2022.

But in about 50 countries around the world, less than 10% of the population has received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine – many of them are in Africa, according to official data compiled by the online repository Our World in Data.

Africa as a region vaccinated only 5.5% of the population, the lowest in the world, the data showed.

Experts, including famous epidemiologist Larry Brilliant, have said that wider vaccination coverage is needed to limit new coronavirus variants and put an end to the global pandemic.

Health issues aside, delays in vaccinating the world’s population could cost the global economy $ 2.3 trillion between 2022 and 2025, estimates the Economist Intelligence Unit. The emerging markets will bear two-thirds of these costs, the consultancy said.