SubscribeSign in
COVID’s Haves and Have-Nots
To End the Pandemic, Rich Countries Must Pay to Vaccinate Poor Ones
Rajiv J. Shah

June 4, 2021
Filipinos register for COVID-19 vaccines at a cinema-turned-vaccination site in Manila, Philippines, June 2021 
Eloisa Lopez / Reuters
Since the United States began COVID-19 immunizations in December, more than 297 million vaccine doses have been administered nationwide. As of this writing, 41 percent of U.S. residents are fully vaccinated and returning mask free to businesses, bars, and ballparks. They’re not alone: in a handful of wealthier countries with high vaccination rates, including the United Kingdom (39 percent), Israel (57 percent), and the United Arab Emirates (63 percent), life is steadily returning to normal.
But vast swaths of the world remain unvaccinated, and the emergence of dangerous new coronavirus strains has exposed dramatic inequities in global access to vaccines. In India, where just over three percent of the population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the virulent B.1.617 variant has been devastating, leaving funeral pyres afire 24 hours a day in many Indian cities. Similar deadly scenarios now threaten to play out in other developing countries with low vaccination rates, including Brazil (11 percent), Colombia (seven percent), and Nepal (three percent).
There is wide agreement that vaccinating the world is the only way to end the pandemic. But no one has yet operationalized a plan or marshaled the support to achieve it. The result is a world divided into two parts: one vaccinated and the
Finish reading this article for free.
Enter your email and we'll send a paywall-free link directly to your inbox.
In addition to your unlocked article, you will receive our flagship weekly newsletter Foreign Affairs This Week, as well as occasional updates and offers from Foreign Affairs. You can unsubscribe at any time. For more information, visit our user agreement and privacy policy.
Get unlimited access to all Foreign Affairs. Subscribe now.
Are you already a subscriber? Sign in.
RAJIV J. SHAH is President of the Rockefeller Foundation. He previously served as Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development.
More:World Global Institutions Health
Recommended Articles
The Vaccine Revolution
How mRNA Can Stop the Next Pandemic Before It Starts
Nicole Lurie , Jakob P. Cramer and Richard J. Hatchett
System Failure
America Needs a Global Health Policy for the Pandemic Age
Ashish Jha
Save up to 55%
on Foreign Affairs magazine!
Weekly Newsletter
Get in-depth analysis delivered right to your inbox
From the
publishers of
Foreign Affairs
The Most:
Malaysia Faces Crises on All Levels
by Joshua Kurlantzick
Five Movies Worth Watching About Conflict at Sea
by James M. Lindsay
A Conversation with Catharine A. MacKinnon: Prostitution as Sex Work or Sexual Exploitation?
by Catherine Powell
Published by the Council on Foreign Relations
Privacy Policy Terms of Use
©2021 Council on Foreign Relations, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
This site uses cookies to improve your user experience. Click here to learn more.
Subscribe for unrestricted access.
Explore Current Issue Archive Books & Reviews Anthologies Newsletters Search Subscribe