Two years into the covid-19 pandemic, vaccines are essentially a luxury good available only to the world’s richer citizens.
That’s because the poorest countries have been left behind in the efforts to vaccinate the world against covid-19. Governments of rich countries funded the development and testing of vaccines, coordinated manufacturing, and protected the intellectual property of drugmakers—thereby ensuring that their citizens would get the vaccines first, and that their economies could reopen faster.
We can easily see the disparity between the global rich and poor by comparing every country’s GDP per capita to its covid-19 vaccine doses per capita. (The chart below shows GDP on a log scale.)
In order to get a closer look at vaccination trends, we broke the data up by regions below, and organized the countries by rank, instead of absolute values. If vaccines were distributed purely according to how rich a country is, then countries’ ranks on the two measures would be similar. In the charts below that linkage appears as flat, parallel lines—and unfortunately there are a lot of them.
To create these charts we used vaccination data collected by Bloomberg through April 8, 2022 and 2020 per-capita GDP figures from the World Bank. Countries without available figures in either metric were excluded.