With vaccination seen as the fastest way out of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an increasing drive from developed countries to fund the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access or COVAX, which distributes vaccine doses to countries that apply.
It isn’t simply about benevolence and goodwill to those in poorer countries that have so far been unable to inoculate their populace. Equally important in the minds of world leaders is the awareness that, as the World Health Organization’s chief said: “Vaccine equity is not just the right thing to do, it’s also the smart thing to do.”
Any attempts to vaccinate our way out of a crisis that has cost almost 2.5 million lives – and a reported 6.7 trillion dollars in global gross domestic product – will only work if the entire world is inoculated. Risks of variants potentially untreatable by current vaccines means that, in the words of United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, “we will return to square one.”