About a year ago, my grandparents—both in their 70s—went from being outgoing travelers with active social lives to staying shuttered inside, barely leaving the house for groceries and altogether avoiding loved ones. Of course, we all missed them and worried that we were losing valuable time together. But our shared concerns for their health and safety took precedent. Just a couple of months ago, mommom and grandad completed their COVID-19 vaccinations. As their elated texts, punctuated with syringes and masked emojis pinged through the family text chain to alert us of the news, our family breathed a collective sigh of relief. We were one step closer to getting back to normal.
Millions of families have experienced this renewed sense of freedom and relief since the COVID-19 vaccine rollout began late last year. According to CDC data, about 60% of U.S. residents have received their first vaccine dose, and nearly 40% have been fully vaccinated, as of May 2021. However, while the COVID-19 vaccine rollout has been swift in the U.S., unfortunately, many other countries haven’t had the same experience.
Covid-19 Vaccine Equity is Vital, but We’re Not There Yet
The reality is that high-income countries currently hold over 50% of the world’s vaccine supply even though these nations comprise only 19% of the global adult population. Rich countries, like the U.S., have enough doses to vaccinate their populations more than twice over. In stark contrast stands everyone else, highlighting the current lack of COVID-19 vaccine equity. Low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) can currently only vaccinate one-third of their populations. Expert forecasts indicate that the world’s 92 poorest countries won’t be able to vaccinate 60% of their populations to reach herd immunity until 2023 or beyond.
But if the COVID-19 pandemic taught us anything, it’s that viruses don’t apply for passports and they don’t respect national borders. This past year has demonstrated just how connected and interdependent we are, as families, as communities, and as humans.
Go Give One is a Campaign to Reach Covid-19 Vaccine Equity
As an organization, Entertain Impact is a small agency based out of NYC. But in our hearts and through our work, we think globally. And as a team, all of us have been deeply touched by the COVID-19 pandemic. Which is why we’re so excited to be part of the global recovery effort by working with the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation on the Go Give One campaign.
Go Give One seeks to achieve vaccine equity by raising money for COVAX, the international COVID-19 vaccine sharing program. COVAX aims to have 2 billion vaccine doses secured for LMICs by the end of 2021. That’s a great target goal. The problem is the program is currently underfunded and has struggled to meet its vaccination targets.
To help combat this crisis, Go Give One asks everyday people like you, me, and my grandparents to donate $5, the cost it takes to give someone a vaccine. Donations will help COVAX build its vaccine supply, and work toward ensuring COVID-19 vaccine equity around the world.
Vaccine Equity is the Only Path to Overcoming the Covid-19 Pandemic
Go Give One’s message stresses that no one is truly free from COVID-19 until we’re all free from it. Even though the virus may not be rampaging through our communities right now, we’re not in the clear until we reach herd immunity. For many countries, that’s several months, if not years away.
Experts warn that not only could this prolong the COVID-19 crisis, but it could also allow for the rise of new mutant variants, which may be more impervious to existing vaccines.
Additionally, data from the WHO indicates that the lack of global vaccine access could lead to major economic setbacks, for LMICs as well as countries with advanced economies. Perhaps the most horrifying forecast is the number of lives we will lose if we don’t improve vaccine equity. Research from Northeastern University shows that monopolization of vaccine doses by richer countries could cause twice as many deaths than if vaccines were distributed equally.
Be a Part of the Vaccine Equity Movement: Go Give One
The last few paragraphs were bleak. Warnings of variants and forecasts of economic devastation and mass death. But there is hope. Think of the hope you felt when you received your vaccination. How much joy did you feel when you finally got to hug your niece or nephew or, as in my case, your grandparents? It is 100% within our power to prevent grief and devastation. Go Give One reflects how connected we are as humans and reminds us of our power and potential to use that interconnectedness for the good of all.
If you and your loved ones have gotten vaccinated, that’s awesome! You’ve played a big role in the fight against the pandemic by protecting yourself and getting us one step closer to herd immunity. Now, we invite you to take the next step in advancing global public health by donating to Go Give One to support vaccine equity and help protect someone else. Just think, you could give someone that same sigh of relief and sense of freedom. You could be the reason a granddaughter can hug her grandparents again.
This article was written by Gina Graves.
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