Here in the United States, many are finally seeing the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel. More than 60 percent of U.S. adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and the vaccine is now available to anyone over the age of 12. However, across the world we see a stark contrast to this American experience. Today, Africa only accounts for 1 percent of the world’s vaccine administration, and much of Asia and South America are struggling to even acquire access to the vaccines. This alarmingly high discrepancy in vaccine access and administration around the world, known as the global vaccine gap, is both a human rights and a racial justice issue — leaving communities of color most vulnerable to its effects.
Human rights activists and experts agree: In order to effectively beat the virus, we have to close the global vaccine gap. But it will take a global fight for human rights to meet the scale of the crisis and ensure that the most impacted populations have equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine.
In this week’s episode of At Liberty, we hear personal stories from activists around the world, discuss the broader implications of the gap, and learn why it is so crucial that we quickly identify solutions to this growing problem. We’re joined by Colin Gonsalves, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Law Network in India; Vivian Newman, executive director of Colombian human rights organization Dejusticia; Nersan Govender, national director of the Legal Resources Centre of South Africa; and Jamil Dakwar, director of the ACLU’s Human Rights Project.