Where is the Outrage?

I keep asking myself this question: where is the outrage? How have people become numb to the struggles of those who do not have access to the COVID-19 vaccines? Ten thousand people die globally every single day on top of the millions who have already died. Yet there still is not a plan to ensure vaccine access to everyone. Where is our empathy, our morality, our conscience?

According to this article in The Guardian 10/21/21, “Only one in seven COVID vaccine doses promised to the world’s poorest countries have been delivered … Of 1.8 billion doses pledged by wealthy nations, just 261 million (14%) have arrived in low-income countries”. As many of us rejoice in receiving our booster doses, the vast majority of people in low and middle-income countries still await their first dose as family members, friends, teachers, and healthcare workers around them die. Why isn’t everyone protesting this situation?

I commend President Biden for holding a Global COVID-19 Summit at the recent United Nations General Assembly, but what has happened since then? Recently a group of 50 global health leaders and more than a dozen public health organizations sent an open letter to the president and Congress, urging the US to vaccinate the world. And for those who ask why it is our responsibility to do this, the answer – according to Eric A. Friedman, Global Health Justice Scholar — is that the US, along with other high-income countries, caused the gross inequality by pre-purchasing the vaccines, paying premium prices, and restricting parts of the supply chain as well as vaccine doses. “Failing to finally move towards vaccine justice will delay the end of this pandemic and mean more dangerous variants, imperiling us all. Justice and US self-interest overlap. President Biden must act now for the sake of all of us,” states Friedman.

You might now be asking, what does this have to do with Together Women Rise? Our Advocacy Group with RESULTS has been actively writing letters to our members of Congress in support of an additional $2 billion in budget reconciliation to expand the manufacturing capacity for vaccines. And we have been writing letters to the editor about the absolute need for global vaccine access. As many say, we are creating a variant incubator as we delay, and this pandemic will not end for any of us until it ends for all of us. You can join us in taking these actions as well.

The impact of COVID-19 has been felt disproportionately by women and girls. We know that millions of girls will never return to school as many have become pregnant or child brides during the closure of schools earlier in the pandemic. And without an education, these girls are destined to live a more challenging life with fewer options available to them and bearing more children at a younger age. And their children are more likely to be undernourished, more prone to infections, and will repeat the cycle of poverty. It is incumbent upon us, if we wish to see women and girls succeed and emerge from an impoverished life, that we do everything within our power to promote global vaccine access. Until we get ahead of this pandemic, the developmental gains we’ve made in the past two decades in health, nutrition, and education will be lost.

So I ask again, where is your outrage?

To find out more about the Together Women Rise Advocacy Group With RESULTS, please contact Leslye at advocacy@togetherwomenrise.org.