Vaccine equity: how the pandemic demonstrated global health inequality – – pharmaphorum – DC Initiative on Racial Equity
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With the rapid onset of the pandemic, the race to develop a viable vaccine quickly became a race to secure access to the developed vaccines. In this article, Ben Hargreaves examines how wealth determined the winners and what is now underway to help lower-income countries gain access to the available vaccines.

At the beginning of the pandemic, there were two principal issues facing producing an effective vaccine: how can one be quickly developed, and how can production meet global demand? As is now clear, the first task has been achieved. However, the latter still poses a significant problem.

For those who have already received a vaccine booster or even a second additional dose, this may not seem a problem. But in various parts of the world, the issue is still a pressing one. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 23 countries are yet to fully vaccinate 10% of their populations, 73 countries yet to manage 40%, and more beyond that will not meet a 70% target by the middle of this year.

The stark difference is best illustrated by the fact that approximately 7% of people living in countries deemed low-income have been vaccinated, compared with 73% in high-income countries.

The problem is being referred to as vaccine equity, and it is not a new issue. One previous example is the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, protecting against the main cause of pneumonia, which took 15 years after being develop


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