Our Key Positions on Global Vaccine Equity
In a pandemic, equity at home requires global equity.
- Global equity in vaccine supply and distribution is requisite for ending the pandemic and its disproportionate effects on communities of color (economic, educational, health).
- Our advocacy for global vaccine equity sends a clear message that people of all backgrounds matter. Many Americans have family and loved ones in regions of the world with poor vaccine access and availability. We stand with those families.
We can protect everyone in the U.S. and vaccinate the rest of the world by increasing supply and manufacturing domestically and abroad. They need to be parallel priorities.
- All eligible populations should have access to the COVID-19 vaccines.
- We need to vaccinate nearly 8 billion people globally. The U.S. government should invest in increasing manufacturing of the COVID-19 vaccines domestically and globally to meet the demand.
- The US should continue donating excess vaccine doses and additional purchased doses to the world to meet and exceed the 500 million doses pledged by the end of 2021.
The spread of COVID-19 and the Delta variant anywhere threatens health globally.
The threat to global health, and a slowed end to the COVID-19 pandemic, is a chief reason to continue focusing on increasing vaccinations in communities of color and doing the hard work of meeting people where they are in communities across the country.
The COVID-19 pandemic is the most severe global health threat in a century, taking the lives of 4.4 million people worldwide. In recent weeks, the Delta variant has caused a surge in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths among unvaccinated individuals in the United States. The number of breakthrough cases among vaccinated individuals—although a small percentage of overall infections—is also increasing. This surge is unique not only to the United States; it is also occurring globally.
Many of the variants, including the more transmissible Delta variant, developed abroad before arriving in the U.S. The longer the pandemic continues, the more new variants will occur—threatening any progress made on vaccinations both at home and abroad. That’s why today Made to Save is re-emphasizing that global vaccination is key to stopping the spread of COVID-19 and the development of new and potentially harmful variants.
Although the vaccines remain extremely effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19, it has also become clear that additional shots are needed to sustain immunity from the virus. While the pandemic continues to rage, booster shots—starting with our most vulnerable populations and healthcare workers—are also an essential tool to stopping the spread of COVID-19.
While social, political, and economic systems vary from country to country, one common theme across the globe is widespread inequity in the vaccines’ distribution and availability. Around 8 billion people need to be vaccinated globally. These disparities become sharper when viewed along racial and economic lines. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), high-income countries administered approximately 50 doses for every 100 people in May 2021. In contrast, low-income countries administered only 1.5 doses for every 100 people due to limited supplies. In the United States, lower-than-average rates of vaccinations are holding steady in communities of color, for whom the pandemic has had inordinate effects across health, social, economic and education dimensions.
Addressing Vaccine Inequity in the United States and Abroad
Made to Save’s goal is to increase trust in the vaccines while ensuring that the communities that have been hit hardest by the pandemic can access them without consideration of race, ethnicity, benefit status, immigration status, or zip code. As we continue to build programs and invest in trusted community organizations, we understand that vaccine inequity on U.S. soil cannot be solved without addressing global vaccine inequity as well.
To adequately serve the 27 million-plus people of color we are trying to reach, we must also have an active voice in addressing the access and equity challenges our global neighbors are facing.
We recognize that as we work to make U.S. vaccine access more equitable and solve access issues that communities of color are shouldering, we must also address the supply of vaccines and their distribution and access globally. The entire world, not just the U.S., is facing a vaccine equity crisis and challenges in global and U.S. vaccine supplies, distribution and access must be addressed simultaneously. One frequently talked about example of this is that there must be an increase in the manufacturing capacity of mRNA vaccines. Additionally, substantial financial and technological investments must be made to support such manufacturing outputs.