Global COVID fight, plagued by inequity, misses UNGA 2022 mile marker
NEW YORK– As the United Nations General Assembly commences, data shows that world leaders have fallen well short of their goal to vaccinate 70% of the population across all income levels. At the Global COVID Summit hosted by President Biden in September 2021, world leaders agreed to support efforts to meet the 70% vaccination target by UNGA 2022. This missed goal is a result of inequities in the rollout of vaccines globally and slowed enthusiasm on behalf of wealthy countries to provide the resources needed to stand up effective vaccination efforts in low-and middle-income countries.
When vaccination rates are broken down by country and income level, the stark equity gap in access to vaccines is clear.
According to ONE’s COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker, as of September 20:
- 19% of people in low-income countries have received 2 doses
- 56% of people in lower-middle income countries have received 2 doses
- 78% of people in upper-middle income countries have received 2 doses
- 75% of people in high-income countries have received 2 doses
Tom Hart, President of ONE, said:
“Our failure to deploy vaccines equitably is a resounding global failure – a failure that cost lives and livelihoods, and resulted in waves of variants which made the pandemic longer for all of us. While some countries, including the US, contributed significantly, doing a lot is not the same as doing enough. We missed the mark, but it’s not too late to fix this.
“We need to both manage the long-term economic and health threat of COVID, but also learn from the many mistakes made so when the next pandemic comes, we can be smarter, faster, and more intentional in ensuring an equitable response for all countries. We urge Congress to support the administration’s request to provide the funds needed to execute a robust COVID response both at home and abroad and prepare for future pandemics.”
- New research has debunked the claim that vaccine hesitancy is the primary driver of low COVID-19 vaccine rates in low-income countries. An analysis of 14 countries instead found that “unpredictable vaccine supplies, lack of antiviral treatments and poor funding for health systems” were the main causes of low vaccine rates. In the countries analyzed, 90% of vaccines received by December 2021 were administered, despite the challenges.
- Up-to-date data on COVID infections, deaths, and vaccination is growing more limited, especially in low-resource settings. The data and reporting systems that were set up during the acute phase of the pandemic have slowed and stopped all together in some places. Getting accurate and timely data on what’s happening with the ongoing COVID pandemic and vaccination could be increasingly challenging moving forward.