Something Doesn’t Add Up with the COVID Vaccine Rollout

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COVID-19’s impacts have indeed been felt most acutely in poor countries. Some of the processes are self-evident; a nation’s ability to treat COVID patients is hampered by its lack of medical facilities.

According to studies, the age-specific COVID-19 infection mortality rate is significantly greater in disadvantaged nations.


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What is Going on Here?

Poor nations are also forced to make tougher decisions in the face of the pandemic, as social efforts to prevent infection come at a significant cost they cannot pay.

Everything is made worse by the fact poor nations have made significantly less headway in vaccinating their citizens. This is leaving them engulfed in the epidemic, just as their richer counterparts are beginning to return to normal life and activities.


Even when we’re not directly impacted, we all should be furious about it; it is inherently unfair when conditions operate against those who are now at a disadvantage.

Furthermore, continual transmission everywhere on the planet increases and maintains the virus’ chance of additional mutation. This risk is exacerbated in the developing world; it has been demonstrated that mutation occurs at a much faster pace in chronically infected immune-deficient patients.

Meanwhile, the bulk of HIV-positive patient populations in the world live in Africa. Vaccination of these locations ought to be regarded as a top priority in order to reduce the global risk of mutations.

As a result, the world’s emphasis should be focused on ending vaccine inequities. Vaccine inequities, like any issue, cannot be fixed unless the root causes are identified, which, sadly, may include some unpleasant discussions.


No – It’s Not Racism

A new op-ed headlined “An uncomfortable truth: the actual reason why Africa isn’t being immunized” has gone viral, claiming prejudice on the part of US-based pharmaceutical businesses is to blame for Africa’s significantly delayed vaccine rollout.

Although racism is evident in recent statements made by CEOs of those corporations, any allegation that it is the direct reason for Africa’s drastically delayed vaccination distribution is objectively false.

The scarcity in Africa is partly due to the non-delivery of 560 million vaccinations ordered by the COVAX consortium from India’s Serum Laboratories, a fact that is completely ignored in the op-ed.

To bolster its case, the op-ed repeats the bulk of vaccination doses in the globe have gone to wealthy nations. What it omits, very deliberately, is an explanation of which wealthy countries the figure refers to.

According to OurWorldInData.com, China has given out 2.3 billion vaccination doses, which is far more than Europe, North America, South America, as well as Africa together. According to OurWorldInData.com, the four continents have given out 2.1 billion doses to a populace approximately twice as high in China.

The majority of readers equate the word “rich countries” with North America and Europe, which are the locations blamed for vaccination inequities in the op-ed.

The op-ed purposefully uses racially-tinged preconceptions about China to mislead its readership about the overall context of vaccine inequities by allowing that belief to prevail.

It’s a bitter irony that a paper (which claims to educate readers about racist stereotypes contributing to vaccine injustice) also uses racist tropes to deceive its audience regarding vaccine disparity.