Americans Celebrate July 4th as COVID-19 Vaccination Rates Rise
Stark Contrast to Low Vaccination Rates among Underserved Populations Globally
By Allison Kozicharow; Edited by Jessie Crowdy
On July 4th, WiRED International’s volunteers and board celebrate along with millions of other Americans who have been fortunate enough to get their COVID-19 shots, and are now free from most restrictions faced last year at this time. We are reminded, however, that people in most of the countries we serve are still waiting for an opportunity to receive their shots, avoid the infection and get back to a normal life.
On Monday, the day after our July 4th celebration, WiRED’s lead instructors in Kenya will begin a train-the-trainer program in Africa to prepare vaccination teams that will help administer the vaccines as soon as they arrive. Throughout Africa, less than 2% of the population has been fully vaccinated even as COVID-19 infections there are on the rise.
According to the New York Times, 85% of shots that have gone into arms worldwide have been administered in high- and upper-middle-income countries, while only 3% of doses have been administered in low-income countries. There is also a striking divide between continents. Africa has the slowest vaccination rate of any continent, with many countries yet to start mass vaccination campaigns.
On July 4th as we Americans commemorate our Independence Day, we must be grateful for the luxury of having easy and free access to vaccines — for a range of illnesses and not just for COVID-19. Nevertheless, we must be mindful that the only way to stop the pandemic is to make sure that populations around the world get fully vaccinated — not just the high-income countries. Because in supporting others less fortunate, we live up to our responsibilities as global citizens as well as protecting ourselves.