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The Global Vaccine Divide Is Widening as Rich Nations Protect Patents Over Safety

People in high-income countries that represent 16 percent of the world’s population have received 56 percent of doses.

A coalition of health justice advocates gathered outside Pfizer's headquarters in Manhattan on March 11, 2021 to call on the Biden administration to push pharmaceutical companies to commit to equitable global vaccine distribution and help end the pandemic everywhere by supporting the waiver of the World Trade Organization's monopoly protections for Big Pharma. (Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images)

A coalition of health justice advocates gathered outside Pfizer's headquarters in Manhattan on March 11, 2021 to call on the Biden administration to push pharmaceutical companies to commit to equitable global vaccine distribution and help end the pandemic everywhere by supporting the waiver of the World Trade Organization's monopoly protections for Big Pharma. (Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images)

We're a year into the pandemic, and thanks to vaccines, it appears we may finally have an end in sight. But, as is too often the case, vaccine distribution has been anything but equitable.

People in rich countries, such as the United States and countries in the European Union, are receiving a far larger share of vaccine doses relative to their share of the global population, according to analysis from Agence France-Presse. Meanwhile, the poorest countries are left waiting in despair as Covid-19 cases continue to rise.

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Of the more than 455 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines that have been injected, people in in high-income countries have received 56 percent—far more than their 16 percent share of the global population.

Corporate profits are not more important than the lives of millions of poor people around the globe.

People in the 29 lowest-income countries have received only 0.1 percent of vaccines, despite making up nine percent of the global population.

Brian Wakamo

Brian Wakamo

Brian Wakamo is a researcher on the Global Economy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies.

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