Three Years Is Too Long to Wait for a Global Vaccine Rollout

Published in Foreign Policy

By Robert Muggah and Katherine Aguirre

At first sight, the global vaccination rollout is mesmerizing. At least 2.4 billion people have already received at least one dose. But scrape a little deeper and the unevenness of vaccine distribution loses its luster. Just 480 million people have been fully vaccinated or 6.2 percent of the global population. What’s more, well over half of all administered doses have been injected into the arms of citizens from just two countries: the United States and China.

Following their summit in Cornwall, England, last week, the leaders of the G-7 nations committed to donating an additional 1 billion COVID-19 vaccines to poorer countries in 2021 and 2022. The Biden administration said 500 million of those doses would be provided by the United States, mostly through COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX), a global vaccine facility managed by the Global Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. China is likewise distributing jabs to advance foreign-policy goals, having so far exported more than 250 million doses to other countries.

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