Letter: We must end global vaccine inequity

2.8 billion, largely in low- and middle-income countries, completely unvaccinated against COVID-19

We must end global vaccine inequity

As we all know too well, we are now in our third year of COVID-19, and it remains true that the pandemic will only end when it ends everywhere. As Canada begins to recover, we must not leave those in the global south to struggle to access vaccines, tools and treatments. We must step up and play a real leadership role to vaccinate the world. While more than 80 per cent of Canadians have received two COVID-19 vaccine doses, just 15 per cent of people in the Global South have received one dose. Ending global vaccine inequity must become a priority to put an end to this pandemic.

Unfortunately, here is where things stand now:

• 2.8 billion people, largely in low- and middle-income countries, remain completely unvaccinated against COVID-19

• The World Health Organization estimates that some 100 million people have been pushed into extreme poverty by the pandemic

• Years of progress in global health and poverty reduction has been wiped out.

• Variants continue to emerge.

Yet Canada is still withholding its support for the TRIPS Waiver and has recently been accused of simply “muddying the waters” rather than contributing to a real solution, even though more than 100 governments at the World Trade Organization support the Waiver.

Also, while we have committed to share 200 million vaccine doses with COVAX, Canada has only delivered 15 million to date. Meantime, we are allowing vaccines to go to waste or to expire. Low-income countries need a stable and predictable supply of vaccines, and additional financing in order to roll out vaccines to their populations.

Take action! Call on our government to demonstrate real leadership to end global vaccine inequity.

JoAnn Mulhern

Cobble Hill