Vaccination challenges for middle and low-income countries

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Angelo Moreno, a 20-year-old medical student from Ecuador studying at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito. He is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


During 1920, humankind was living one of the toughest times of its history. The world was coursing World War I, then a new type of deadly influenza appeared. It was named Spanish flu, Spain had better count and reporting cases, but the first cases were reported in the US. The Spanish flu reached 20-50 million deaths, but Homo Sapiens did not have the methods to answer: What is causing the pandemic? How to stop the pandemic?

One hundred years later, on the 12th of March 2020, The WHO declared a new pandemic for Homo Sapiens: the COVID-19. This time, humankind has more experience fighting against infectious diseases. Our society now understands the virus that is causing the pandemic, a coronavirus. In less than a year, Homo Sapiens developed some vaccines for the SARS-CoV-2. Homo Sapiens developed the rotavirus vaccine in fifteen years and the Polio vaccine in five. The WHO started the COVAX initiative to buy 2 billion doses and distribute them to low- and middle-income countries. It could be one of the greatest achievements of Homo Sapiens. 

But the market knows no names, not even the World Health Organization. During the 148th Executive Board Meeting of the WHO, Dr. Tedros addressed higher-income countries to be aware of the inequality they have created: “Even as they speak the language of equitable access, some countries and companies continue to prioritize bilateral deals, going around COVAX, driving up prices, and attempting to jump to the front of the queue.”

In Ecuador, a country in South America with 18 million inhabitants, the plan of vaccination is predicted to start with 80.000 doses during the third week of January. In comparison, Austria with 8.8 million inhabitants has achieved the milestone of 100.000 doses.

40.4 million vaccines have been distributed worldwide. However, 0 people have been vaccinated in Africa, although the continent is inhabited by 1.216 billion. 219,397 people have been vaccinated in South America, although it is inhabited by 422 million. Africa and South America mean 21% of the worldwide population, but 0.5% of the vaccinated population.

The greatest opportunity to fight the pandemic is opaqued by the distribution of it. “It’s right that all governments want to prioritize vaccinating their own health workers and older people first, but it is not right that younger healthier adults in rich countries are vaccinated before health workers and older people in poor countries.” Dr. Tedros, during the opening remarks of the 148th Executive Board Meeting of the World Health Organization.

Homo Sapiens is not ready yet for its biggest challenge: Equality.

About the author

Angelo Moreno is a 20-year-old medical student from Ecuador. He studies at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito. Currently, he is the Membership Development Assistant in the IFMSA and a member of the Supervising Council in AEMPPI Ecuador. He is constantly working in global health campaigns and advocating for universal access to education and healthcare. He has a background in several NGOs and youth movements. In addition, he is creating an NGO focused on sustainability and ensuring access to education for children.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

During the coronavirus pandemic, we must fight for LGBTQ rights more than ever

Final preparations for DCX and IFRA Expo 2019, in association with The European Sting

How two colossal Assyrian icons were recreated using digital tech

Libya: EU efforts should focus on protecting migrants, MEPs say

Difficulties of vaccination against COVID-19

EU takes again positive action on migration crisis while Turkey asks for dear favors in exchange for cooperation

Project Manager – 2024

Social media and the lack of information for blood donation

Commission welcomes provisional agreement on the European Climate Law

The EU to bear the cost of eventual sanctions against Russia

Saudi woman seeking asylum in Thailand ‘now in a secure place’ says UNHCR

A 550 km-long mass of rotting seaweed is heading for Mexico’s pristine beaches

Lack of investment and ambition means Youth Guarantee not reaching potential

This is the life of a refugee: the constant destruction and construction of dreams every day

This is where people live the longest in the EU

Nicaragua ‘crisis’ still cause for concern amid murder, torture allegations: Bachelet

This is our chance to completely redefine the meaning of work

European Green Deal: Commission presents actions to boost organic production

Green Deal: measures to step up the fight against global deforestation

These are the countries where most adults still don’t have a smartphone

It’s just electronic cigarette, don’t worry?

Historian Niall Ferguson on what the pandemic means for the global economy, geopolitics – and parties

Coronavirus response: Commission welcomes agreement on crucial VAT relief for vaccines and testing kits

Portuguese Presidency outlines priorities to EP committees

Romanian Presidency priorities discussed in committees

EU is now giving Google new monopolies to the detriment of European citizens and Internet companies

Mexico: UN chief saddened by pipeline blast in which dozens were killed

The 28 EU leaders show contempt for the European Elections results

Thursday’s Daily Brief: ambulance attack in Libya, #GlobalGoals defenders, human rights in Cambodia, Swine Fever

Pay Transparency: Commission proposes measures to ensure equal pay for equal work

This is how drones and other ‘tradetech’ are transforming international trade

Make no mistake: the purpose of business is to serve society

These are the top countries for travel and tourism in 2019

Rare Disease Day: a new EU platform to support better diagnosis and treatment

Spanish and Polish voters are crying out for an imminent European change while US urge now Germany to change route

EU co-ordinating the urgent delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to Moldova

Why global collaboration is needed to protect against a new generation of cyber threats

Does upgrading our minds mean losing the spark of genius?

This Brooklyn farm company is training a new generation of urban farmers

Countries are piling on record amounts of debt amid COVID-19. Here’s what that means

A brief history of cryptography and why it matters

Yemen: €95 million in EU humanitarian aid for people threatened by conflict and famine

Parliament: No consent to EU budget until €11.2 billion unpaid bills are settled

Chinese tech investors are turning towards MENA. Here’s why

Can Obama attract Iran close to the US sphere of influence?

How our Europe will regain its strength: op-ed by Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission

From underestimation to valorization: how mobile technology is transforming global health

The Khashoggi affair: A global complot staged behind closed doors

Safe spaces offer security and dignity for youth, and help make the world ‘better for all’: Guterres

Smart city experts should be looking to emerging markets. Here’s why

Brazil identifies a clear pathway for aligning its transfer pricing framework with the OECD standard

The public health system in Brazil as a promoter of sexual and reproductive health and rights: how does it help in the fight against HIV/AIDS?

Mountains matter, especially if you’re young, UN declares

At G20 Summit OECD’s Gurría says collective action vital to tackle global challenges

Top UN court orders Myanmar to protect Rohingya from genocide

How fungi could save the world

Why South Africa is on a path of economic renewal

Rule of Law: Commission launches infringement procedure to protect the independence of the Polish Supreme Court

Supply chains are on the cusp of a data-fed revolution. Here’s how businesses can succeed.

Global warming: our responsibility

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s