Student dynamic map competition

Global Covid-19 Vaccine Apartheid

By Kenny Stancil, University of Kentucky.

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Through text and visualizations, I explore the gap between rich and poor countries in access to lifesaving Covid vaccines. The time slider shows that this is a persistent problem. Any recent progress pales in comparison to what could have happened had policymakers prioritized human lives over pharma profits.

As my map notes, a widely supported initiative to waive patents and ramp up generic production was defeated by a minority of mostly wealthy WTO members. Big Pharma’s claim that an IP waiver wouldn’t translate into greater supply look like a hollow attempt to maintain profitable monopoly control when juxtaposed with the pleas made by qualified manufacturers still being deprived of publicly funded tech.

I also explore responses to what many have called vaccine apartheid. Most notably, the WHO’s mRNA tech transfer hub is set to expand to more than a dozen firms in LMICs. The goal is to prevent a repeat of the current disaster by sharing resources to increase domestic production.