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Global herd immunity remains out of reach because of inequitable vaccine distribution – 99% of people in poor countries are unvaccinated

A COVID-19 field hospital in Santo Andre, Brazil. The pandemic has killed over 503,000 people in Brazil; just 11% of the population is fully vaccinated. Mario Tama/Getty Images

Global herd immunity remains out of reach because of inequitable vaccine distribution – 99% of people in poor countries are unvaccinated

A COVID-19 field hospital in Santo Andre, Brazil. The pandemic has killed over 503,000 people in Brazil; just 11% of the population is fully vaccinated. Mario Tama/Getty Images

Global herd immunity remains out of reach because of inequitable vaccine distribution – 99% of people in poor countries are unvaccinated

A COVID-19 field hospital in Santo Andre, Brazil. The pandemic has killed over 503,000 people in Brazil; just 11% of the population is fully vaccinated. Mario Tama/Getty Images

Global herd immunity remains out of reach because of inequitable vaccine distribution – 99% of people in poor countries are unvaccinated

A COVID-19 field hospital in Santo Andre, Brazil. The pandemic has killed over 503,000 people in Brazil; just 11% of the population is fully vaccinated. Mario Tama/Getty Images

COVAX’s goal – for lower-income countries to “receive enough doses to vaccinate up to 20% of their population” – would not get COVID-19 transmission under control in those places.

Maria De Jesus, American University School of International Service

In the race between infection and injection, injection has lost.

Public health experts estimate that approximately 70% of the world’s 7.9 billion people must be fully vaccinated to end the COVID-19 pandemic. As of June 21, 2021, 10.04% of the global population had been fully vaccinated, nearly all of them in rich countries.

Only 0.9% of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose.

I am a scholar of global health who specializes in health care inequities. Using a data set on vaccine distribution compiled by the Global Health Innovation Center’s Launch and Scale Speedometer at Duke University in the United States, I analyzed what the global vaccine access gap means for the world.

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