Global efforts to tackle vaccine inequality gathers momentum

Some of the world’s biggest names have come together to call for a ‘people’s vaccine’ in which the equipment and treatment is made available through the lifting of patents, and the open sharing of technology and knowledge is made global so that the whole world can make great strides forward in putting the coronavirus behind us.

In one of the biggest shows of solidarity yet, A-Listers from all corners of the globe including George Clooney, Forest Whitaker, Yemi Alade, Dia Mirza and Peter Gabriel have joined iconic Nobel Laureates, scientists and other public figures to ensure that governing bodies and organisations leading the vaccine efforts cooperate and combine resources to ensure that everybody is put at the forefront of the rollout, regardless of race, class or nationality.

In efforts being led by Avaaz, a U.S.-based nonprofit organisation to promote global activism on issues such as human rights calls for a huge wave of public support to help make Covid treatments available to everyone are gathering momentum.

The fears surrounding vaccine inequality are growing, where in the US alone, will cost up to $2,700 per person, with the worst-case scenario around the world pointing towards costs of $9 trillion.

There is no doubt that the best chance of all staying safe is to ensure a COVID-19 vaccine is available for all as a global common good. However, companies have been criticised for protecting their vaccine monopolies which are restricting production and driving up prices. This has led to millions being left at risk from not getting the vaccine as they are not being designed to protect people from the virus, but instead being used as a tool for profit. Already, the world’s richest countries have bought most of the doses, leaving developing nations facing a massive shortfall.

To address this pressing concern of monopolising vaccines, there needs to be a greater transformation into how vaccines are being produced and distributed. Bringing in recognisable names has helped provide a platform to raise awareness further, but there are still needs to be extensive efforts to help make the vaccine universally available.

So far, India and South Africa, supported by over 100 developing nations, have tabled an emergency proposal at the World Trade Organization to temporarily suspend the patents for Covid-19 vaccines and treatments until the pandemic is over. Avaaz is calling for this to be addressed at the meeting so that millions of lives can be saved.

As of writing, more than 1 million people have signed the petition, showing how the general public are also using their voice, which could be instrumental in shifting change to ensure there is no vaccine inequality and everybody has access to it.

Making the vaccine universally available will be crucial if the world is to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. If the vaccine is only given to certain members of the public, massive progress being made towards several of the 17 SDGs will be reversed. These include SDG 3 (Good Health and Wellbeing) and SDG 10 (Reducing Inequality) while the knock-on effects on addressing SDG 1 (No Poverty) and SDG 4 (Quality Education) could have major consequences and leave the world worse off.

To join the 1 million+ currently supporting the People’s Vaccine campaign, simply sign up here: