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Letter: 'Do the right thing,' Canada. Reduce vaccine inequities

We are fortunate to live where there is an ample supply of COVID-19 vaccine. "Others are not so privileged," writes this North Vancouver grandmother.
covid-19 vaccination clinic - whistler  sea to sky
An estimated 2.8 billion people, largely in low- and middle-income countries, remain completely unvaccinated against COVID-19. That needs to change, this letter writer states.

Dear Editor:

The recent World Immunization Week (April 24-30) reminds me how very fortunate I am to live where ample vaccines are available to right COVID-19. Others are not so privileged.

It is time to end global vaccine inequity. An estimated 2.8 billion people, largely in low- and middle-income countries, remain completely unvaccinated against COVID-19. Northern wealthy nations have been able to pay the high prices to Pfizer and Moderna.

While 80 per cent of Canadians have received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine, 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.

COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on marginalized communities around the world: 80 million people have gone into extreme poverty; education has been disrupted and many young girls may never return to school, and basic health-care progress has been set back years. Global vaccination will reduce the risk of future COVID-19 variants that threaten everyone.

Canada promised to send 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to needy nations. So far, it has sent only 15 million. We sit at the bottom of the G7 countries in our efforts. It is embarrassing. Canada could show its commitment to a COVID-free world by joining the more than 100 governments at the World Trade Organization that fully support the proposed suspension of intellectual property barriers that would allow increased manufacturing of COVID vaccines in low- and middle-income countries (the TRIPS waiver).

I urge all Canadians to push our government to do the right thing and reduce vaccine inequities.

Ginger Shaw
Grandmothers Advocacy Network member
North Vancouver

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