Today, 66% of our world’s population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. A remarkable achievement. Humanity has never made, distributed & administered a vaccine for any disease faster than it did for COVID-19. We accomplished in 18 months something that would take a decade.
But, within this amazing success is a startling disparity. Just 18% of the people in low-income countries have received any COVID-19 vaccine. A massive inequity according to the World Covid-19 Vaccine Data. Sadly, this inequity is not new. It’s not even the worst gap in global health.
Each year, over 5 million children die before their 5th birthday, mostly from preventable & treatable infectious diseases & almost entirely in low income countries. A child in Nigeria is 20 times more likely to die before the age of 5.
How could we achieve health equity in a future pandemic? Re-prioritise how the world produces, allocates & administers vaccine doses to save lives & stop the transmission? The developed world promised over a billion doses for low income countries during COVID-19. But, it’s not yet delivered.
Although sharing doses is part of the solution, it may be insufficient to solve the problem. We can find innovative ways to produce more doses in less time. A compassionate goal to make & deliver enough vaccines for all within 6 months of detecting a potential pandemic? Expand our vaccine making ability & capacity in low income countries? Faster & efficient IP, production, distribution, administration & regulatory approvals? Health equity can only be achieved when everyone can attain their full potential of health & well-being.