Christopher J.L. Murray, Director of IHME, discusses his a new comment in The Lancet that he co-authored about the Group of 7 (G7) Summit June 11–13, 2021 in Cornwall, UK. He calls on leaders of the G7 countries to consider his approach to an equitable distribution of donated COVID-19 vaccines by utilizing forecasting models.
Vaccines can make an absolutely critical difference to the death toll from COVID-19. Vaccine donations are going to be a critical part of how the world grapples with the ongoing pandemic. We believe vaccine donations should be going to those in the greatest need – not based on geopolitics, but based on epidemiology. Of course, there's lots of uncertainties about the future but we have some ideas about where COVID-19 is going to have the greatest death toll in the coming months or the coming year, and those are the populations within countries that deserve the donations in priority over others. If we look at the death toll that has already taken place from COVID-19 and where the pandemic is ongoing, there are some clear populations at great need like South Asia, where the pandemic is coming down but certainly there are real risks of resurgence; the death toll that we now understand in Eastern Europe and Central Asia where there has been really high rates of infection, and likely when new variants show up, the same will occur again; and of course Latin America – particularly Ecuador, Peru and Brazil – are places where the death toll has been huge, and will likely, unfortunately, to continue to be a major focus of the pandemic.