Carter Center Urges U.S. to Ensure Equitable Global Vaccine Distribution


(Atlanta) — While many rich nations, including the United States, have begun to vaccinate populations against COVID-19, even frontline workers in Africa must wait until April.

This is a moral challenge for the U.S., which has obligations under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, created after the global pain of World War II to enable all nations to prosper by guaranteeing basic human rights, including access to health care.

A year after the pandemic emerged, the U.S. is still absent from the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility (COVAX), a coalition of 190 countries formed in April 2020 by the World Health Organization, GAVI (formerly the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization), and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to share resources for vaccine development and distribution so all countries, regardless of income levels, would have equal access to the vaccines. Instead of receiving equitable distribution, developing countries have been relegated to the end of the vaccination line, a situation expected to be protracted, with an estimated two-thirds of the world’s population not getting a vaccine until 2022.

Everyone's mental and physical health and every country's economic health are closely intertwined with ending the pandemic, and unless all countries cooperate in fighting COVID-19, the duration of the pandemic will be longer than necessary and will continue to cause harm.

The U.S. should join COVAX immediately and offer to assist. It should share lessons learned from overcoming domestic operational challenges after meeting only about 15% of its initial objective of 2 million vaccinations by the end of December. The U.S. must show it is a global leader as it did 72 years ago when it helped forge an international community for the greater good.



The Carter Center
Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope.

A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in over 80 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; and improving mental health care. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide.