Pandemic of greed

A wake-up call for vaccine equity at a grim milestone

Publication date: 3 March 2022
Author: Oxfam

The human and economic cost of the COVID-19 pandemic has been staggering, in terms of lives lost, human suffering, and economic damage. As we enter the third year of the pandemic, we still find ourselves on a rollercoaster of lockdowns, variants, and broken promises. Inequality has actively prolonged the pandemic, devastating lives and livelihoods. Women have shouldered an especially heavy burden.

While effective vaccines provide hope, their rollout has tipped, from a natural desire to protect citizens, into nationalism, greed, and self-interest. Large numbers of people in low-income countries face the virus unprotected and millions of people would still be alive today if they had had access to a vaccine. Big pharmaceutical corporations have been given free rein to prioritize profits ahead of vaccine equality. As we mark two years since the official pandemic was declared, we still have a chance to gain the upper hand on the virus, but only if everyone, everywhere has access to vaccines and treatments.