Opinion | Global Equity and the Covid Vaccine

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To the Editor:

Re “Skip Booster Shots. Give Vaccines to Africa,” by Matshidiso Moeti (Opinion guest essay, Sept. 20):

Dr. Moeti is to be congratulated for her excellent essay drawing attention to the growing Covid-19 vaccine inequity. Covid-19, perhaps more than any other event in our history, is demonstrating that we are a genuine global community. Achieving vaccination rates of 80 percent in some high-income countries is outstanding, but no one can relax while vaccination rates of 3.6 percent exist in other areas such as Africa.

Covid-19 has been somewhat of a litmus test for how far we still have to go with equity. For too long equity has been framed as an “us and them” issue, with the very small “us” group controlling the vast majority of resources for the very large “them” group. The most potent lesson from Covid-19 is that it’s all “us.”

Providing booster shots to healthy, low-risk individuals while large numbers of potentially at-risk people have had no vaccination at all is deplorable. No one will be safe until we are all safe. Equity is not just good for everyone; it’s essential to our survival.

Timothy A. Carey
Kigali, Rwanda
The writer is director of the Institute of Global Health Equity Research at the University of Global Health Equity in Rwanda.

To the Editor:

As a pediatrician with over half a century of practice with Native American children and children in Southeast Asia, I fully agree with the need to vaccinate the world against the coronavirus pandemic. But the question is exactly how to successfully distribute and administer the vaccines given issues with refrigeration, transportation, corruption, theft, instability in many countries, lack of medical personnel, record-keeping, displaced people, religious beliefs, wastage, etc.

The Gates Foundation may be able to gear up and do it, but not the underfunded World Health Organization.

Marvin J. Godner
Santa Fe, N.M.

To the Editor:

Re “Biden Outlines Aggressive Pandemic Plan, but There Are Plenty of Obstacles” (news article, Sept. 23):

The global approach to Covid should be focused on keeping people alive, not eradicating the virus. In doing the former we can do the latter.

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