The Biden administration and states across the country are slowly making progress with their coronavirus vaccination campaign, but the unequitable scramble for doses overseas threatens to prolong the pandemic indefinitely.
Rich countries have essentially cleared the shelves, securing almost 60 percent of global vaccine supply, according to a Duke University procurement tracker, and the U.S alone has pre-purchased enough doses to inoculate the population twice over.
From the start of the pandemic, public health experts have warned about the dangers of vaccine nationalism — high-income countries hoarding shots for their own populations.
Almost a year later, those warnings have largely been realized.
“Even as vaccines bring hope to some, they become another brick in the wall of inequality between the world’s haves and have-nots,” World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a speech last month.
Tedros warned against the “me-first” approach to vaccinations.
“The world is on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure, and the price of this failure will be paid with lives and livelihoods in the world’s poorest countries,” Tedros said.
Experts argue that with the rise of new, more contagious variants, the U.S. will not be able to get back to normal until the rest of the world is also vaccinated.
“We live in a global community and if we really want to talk about true approaching normality, we have to attack this at the global level,” Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during a recent Washington Post event.
“Because whenever there's transmission and viral outbreaks throughout the world, the United States will always be at danger, no matter what we do,” Fauci said.
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