Wealthy Countries Should Share Vaccine Doses Before It Is Too Late

Wealthy Countries Should Share Vaccine Doses Before It Is Too Late

The Greater Good Depends on Ending the Pandemic Everywhere

The world is on the brink of failing a critical test: the one measuring whether the international community is willing or able to end a global pandemic without leaving anyone behind. Wealthy countries have bought up vast vaccine supplies, leaving poorer ones to cope with extreme scarcity. An international initiative known as the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility (COVAX) aims to distribute vaccines widely and equitably, but it is short of funds. At best, COVAX will reach only a small portion of the populations of low-income countries this year. The South African government has aptly warned of a coming global “vaccine apartheid.”  

There is still time to manage this differently. Wealthy countries have a moral duty to help distribute vaccines. It is also in their economic interest. Instead of hoarding supplies, these countries should reallocate doses to low- and middle-income countries and provide funding to ensure that the most vulnerable populations—including minorities and stateless people—and, ultimately, entire populations are immunized, regardless of income.