WHO reports COVID-19's impact on global vaccine market

The World Health Organization on Nov 9, 2022, published their detailed study regarding COVID-19’s impact on the global vaccine market. According to the WHO, this report is the first report to study the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global vaccine market. The report mainly highlighted that although technological changes have improved the global vaccine market, it still has not improved the development process of vaccines and their accessibility to the general public. Despite the world going through a pandemic, low and middle-income countries are still struggling to acquire many vital vaccines. The report primarily highlighted that during the COVID-19 pandemic, low and middle-income countries struggled to acquire the COVID-19 and cervical cancer vaccines.  The World Health Organization, which led the global battle against the COVID-19 pandemic mentioned several observations in their Global Vaccine Market Report 2022, published on their official global website. This report suggested that, even under a situation of the pandemic, the vaccine dynamic did not change, as poorer countries still suffered from shortages, while many developed countries overstocked the COVID-19 vaccines. During the time of the pandemic, the global supply chain for almost every product had disrupted due to stringent regulatory guidelines and strict lockdown rules. Along with this, due to lowered production output, the supply of many vaccines had fallen drastically, which was sufficient to fulfill the global demand. This also led to the uneven distribution of vaccines across the countries, as the supply went to the country that bid the highest. The WHO gave the example of Human Papillomavirus or HPV which causes cervical cancer. According to the WHO, almost 83% of the global population suffering from cervical cancer caused by HPV are from middle to low-income countries. But on the other hand, only 41% of the produced volume of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is distributed in low and middle-income countries.  The biggest challenge for low and middle-income countries to acquire the required volume of vaccines is affordability. These countries have much smaller economies where the per-person wage is extremely low. Because of this, these countries often pay even higher amounts for the same vaccine due to lower demand and differences in economies. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General at WHO said that the newest vaccine report highlights the disparity between high-income countries and low and middle-income countries when it comes to vaccine distribution. He further stated that the WHO is asking the industry players to bring significant changes to the global vaccine market which will be focused on preventing diseases, saving lives, and preparing the world for future threats.  The report gave a brief idea about the global vaccine market during the pandemic, as it showed a significant increase in the number of doses supplied during the pandemic. According to the report, around 16 billion vaccine doses valued at around $141 billion were supplied across the world in the year 2021. This volume is three times higher than the number of doses supplied in 2019, a year before the pandemic happened. The WHO stated that the increase in demand for vaccine doses was primarily due to COVID-19 vaccines.