Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg wants the world to “step their game up” when it comes to vaccine manufacturing, development, and distribution. Specifically, she joins a call from a multitude of climate and human rights activists who are fighting against vaccine inequality after the world’s richest countries purchased a majority of the planet’s Covid-19 doses, leaving those in poorer countries without.
The World Health Organization announced this week that 5.2 million new confirmed coronavirus cases have appeared throughout the world within the past week; this marks the largest weekly count yet according to the United Nation’s health agency.
Thunberg recently donated $120,000 from her charitable foundation to the WHO foundation to help buy more Covid vaccines for poor countries where they’re especially needed right now.
“It is completely unethical that high-income countries are now vaccinating young and healthy people if that happens at the expense of people in risk groups and on the front lines in low- and middle-income countries,” said Thunberg, who was recently invited as a guest for a regular WHO briefing.
“While the development of Covid vaccines in record time is impressive, it’s estimated that one in four people in high-income countries have received them so far, while only one in 500 in middle and lower-income countries have.”
“The international community, governments and vaccine developers must step up their game and address the tragedy that is vaccine inequity. Just with the climate crisis, those who are the most vulnerable need to be prioritized and global problems require global solutions,” she continued.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO’s director general, recently discussed how new Covid cases rose for an eighth straight week in a row around the globe, while Covid-related deaths have been on the rise for the past five weeks straight.
“Infections among people 25 to 29 are increasing at an alarming rate, possibly as a result of highly contagious variants and increased social mixing among younger adults.”
In total, more than 3 million patients have died within the past year of the pandemic, and more than 141 million residents around the world have been infected, according to Johns Hopkins University which has been collecting data since the beginning of the pandemic.
Thunberg said people need to “step up for one another. We young people may be the ones who are least affected … by the virus in a direct way. Of course, many young people fail to draw that connection. Not all, but some.”
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.