The Washington Post

The low global vaccine rates


Regarding the July 14 editorial “Booster shot confusion”:

While people in the United States debate which vaccine to take, when and how many, it’s important to remember only 17 percent of people in low-income countries have been fully vaccinated against the coronaviru­s 18 months after vaccines hit the markets. Remember, too, that every variant to hit the United States came from elsewhere — meaning U.S. health is tied to what happens outside our country. The United States has been lucky to have all the resources at hand to fight this pandemic, but waves of illness in low-income countries will continue to keep workers home and stifle economic recovery, which keeps people poorer and food-insecure. Congress needs to provide the resources for low-income countries to curb this impact.

The editorial worried about “leaving doses on the shelf ” in the United States, where booster uptake has been lackluster. That’s a valid concern but omits the bigger picture. More than 1 billion doses might have already gone to waste around the world, in part, because leaders failed to mobilize the resources needed to swiftly deliver vaccines to low-income countries and get those shots off the tarmac and into arms. We cannot hope to tackle a global pandemic with an approach that allows wealthy countries to “wait for better” while those most in need wait, without guarantee, for the bare minimum. It’s not too late to get this right.

Tom Hart, Kensington The writer is president of the

One Campaign.

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