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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Wealthy countries — including some that have started giving some people third doses — have been receiving coronavirus vaccine doses that were either made in or intended for low- or middle-income countries.

Why it matters: This only widens the gap in vaccine access between wealthy and poor countries, which could ultimately have global consequences.

Driving the news: Some rich countries that had already reserved a large supply of vaccines for themselves have also dipped into COVAX's vaccine supply, which is way behind on the number of doses it's promised to deliver around the world, AP reported over the weekend.

Between the lines: "The result is that poorer countries have landed in exactly the predicament COVAX was supposed to avoid: dependent on the whims and politics of rich countries for donations, just as they have been so often in the past," AP writes.

  • In June, COVAX sent more than double the amount of doses to Britain than it sent to the entire African continent, per AP.
  • Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia have also recently received doses bought from COVAX, despite already having relatively high vaccination rates.

The big picture: The vast majority of people living in low-income countries remain unvaccinated and dependent on the rest of the world for shots.

  • But equitable vaccine distribution isn't just a humanitarian effort. Experts say that variants that can evade vaccine protection are way more likely to arise in countries with low vaccination rates than in those with high ones, as the virus has much more room to spread.

Go deeper

Oct 19, 2021 - Health

J&J expects $2.5 billion of vaccine sales this year

J&J's COVID-19 vaccine. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson registered $502 million of global revenue from its COVID-19 vaccine in the third quarter, bringing year-to-date vaccine sales to $766 million.

The big picture: J&J, which is selling the vaccine at a not-for-profit price of $7.50 per dose, still expects to generate $2.5 billion of COVID vaccine sales this year, executives said Tuesday. But that total will still dwarf the use and sales of the vaccines made by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.

GE to mandate COVID vaccinations for U.S. workers

Photo: Sebastien Bozon/AFP via Getty Images

General Electric will require all of its workers in the U.S. to be vaccinated against COVID-19, citing President Biden's executive order for federal contractors, the company confirmed to Axios on Tuesday.

Why it matters: General Electric is the latest in a slew of major companies to mandate the vaccine for workers, following in the footsteps of American Airlines, Tyson Foods and Microsoft, among others.

22 hours ago - Health

Puerto Rico leads U.S. COVID vaccination rates

A mass vaccination event at the Puerto Rico Convention Center in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on March 31. Photo: Ricardo Arduengo/AFP via Getty Images

Puerto Rico has the highest percentage of people fully vaccinated against the coronavirus in the United States as of Oct. 19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: The island has managed to accomplish such feats amid frequent power outages, earthquakes and high dependence on imports of health technologies from outside the region.

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