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A United Nations committee urged wealthy nations to support a proposal before the World Trade Organization to widen access to Covid-19 vaccines over concerns that people living in poorer countries face a “pattern of unequal distribution” that mirrors historical discrimination.

In a new statement, the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination noted that “the vast majority of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered in high and upper-middle-income countries and that, as of April 2022, only 15.2% of the population of low-income countries has received even one vaccine dose.”


Consequently, this is “creating a pattern of unequal distribution within and between countries that replicates slavery and colonial-era racial hierarchies, and which further deepens structural inequalities affecting vulnerable groups protected” under the International Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. The convention is a U.N. human rights tool that went into force in 1969.

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