While many of us are eagerly awaiting our shot, it’s easy to forget that when it comes to global vaccine distribution, not all countries are created equal – almost half of all doses go to high-income countries which make up only 16% of the world’s population. According to data from the Duke Global Health Innovation Center, the EU has ordered enough to vaccinate its population 2.7 times over, while the African Union can only vaccinate 38% of its people; in India, this number drops to a staggering 4%.
With the slogan “No one is free until everyone is free,” the fundraiser Go Give One draws attention to the fact that overcoming the pandemic will require global immunity. Launched by the WHO foundation, the campaign seeks to give countries unable to purchase enough doses equal access to Covid-19 vaccines, aiming to mobilize 50 million people worldwide in an effort to close the vaccination gap between higher- and lower-income countries.
To achieve this, Go Give One is asking those willing to help to donate single or multiple doses, which come at as little as €6 a jab. Supporters can either make one-time donations or sign up for a monthly scheme – for example, buying 5 doses for €30 or 10 for €60.
All proceeds go toward COVAX (Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access), a joint initiative co-led by the WHO, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the Vaccine Alliance Gavi, with UNICEF as a key partner. The goal is ambitious: COVAX hopes to distribute about 1.7 billion doses by the end of this year, enabling immunization of at least 20% of the population of 92 low- and middle-income countries.
While every bit helps, the vaccine-sharing scheme is largely carried by nations contributing as soon as they cover their own needs – as one of COVAX’s 190 member states, Austria has pledged €2.4 million. So far, COVAX has provided more than 49 million doses, but rollout has struggled recently due to delivery problems and the sweeping surge in India.
Finally getting the long-awaited shot is a highly emotional moment for many. But instead of simply jumping for joy, Go Give One reminds us to not take it for granted and see the bigger picture – fairer vaccine distribution benefits us all.