Pfizer is helpingAccess to good health care and proper medication is a problem for many countries. Nearly two billion people around the world do not have access to needed medication. This is due to issues such as accessibility, affordability and availability. Countries in poverty suffer the most from these difficulties, hitting the poorest of the population the hardest. But Pfizer, the drug manufacturer,  is helping by taking a step forward to help level the playing field in accessibility to medication. Recently Pfizer announced a new initiative, “An Accord for a Healthier World.”  The Accord will donate patented medicines and vaccines on a non-profit basis to some of the poorest countries in the world, helping 1.2 billion people in 45 low- and lower-middle-income countries.

Medicine Accessibility for Those in Poverty

The recent pandemic showcased problems when it comes to having medicine and vaccines available and ready for the public. But having a shortage of medication is only a piece of the puzzle.  Improvements are needed in areas including education, infrastructure, storage and diagnosis in order to balance health inequities around the world. “Inequities are everywhere. You can pick any disease and you will find inequities,” says Aida Habtezion M.D., Pfizer’s Chief Medical Officer.

Rwanda, Ghana, Senegal, Malawi and Uganda are the first countries to participate in the Accord. Eventually, the Accord will provide medication for 27 low-income countries and 18 lower-middle-income countries. Pfizer will assess best practices in providing medical infrastructure,  health education and diagnosis in the first five countries so it can make improvements when it rolls out the program in other countries.

Pfizer Foundation is Helping Elsewhere in Africa

The Pfizer Foundation has also recently committed to funding three separate humanitarian organizations that are helping with the refugee crisis in African countries. International Medical Corps, the International Rescue Committee, and World Vision are “working tirelessly to provide essential health care to the world’s most marginalized people” according to Caroline Roan, president of the Pfizer Foundation and Vice President of Corporate Responsibility at Pfizer.

All three of these organizations have their own roles to play in this cooperation. The International Medical Corps will focus on mobile health outreach and strengthening the community health center in the Central African Republic (CAR) in order to give nutrition and health services to those displaced. This includes 20% of the total population in CAR at the moment. The International Rescue Committee will aid in improving the quantity and quality of immunization coverage in the Hagadera refugee camp in Kenya. The camp currently houses 83,000 refugees. World Vision will be helping in CAR as well as in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to host people who cannot get access to healthcare. It will also work to increase protection for displaced children.

Beyond Donating Funds

These new initiatives are examples of how Pfizer is making a difference in the world, maximizing its resources as well as teaming up with other organizations. Eradicating poverty and its many repercussions takes more than just donating to the cause, but instead, it takes extensive research, follow-through and coordination to see how to solve the problem most effectively.

– Kelsy Jensen
Photo: Flickr


As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to surge, global calls for achieving COVID-19 vaccine equity are increasing. Vaccine equity is a simple concept: it is the belief that all people should have equal access to vaccines. Inequitable access to COVID-19 vaccines leaves developing nations helpless against the virus. Moreover, inequitable access has allowed new deadlier variants of the virus to emerge and spread globally.

According to the World Bank Group, as of November 15, 2021, 72.8% of the population in high-income countries received a COVID-19 vaccine. This is a harsh difference from the mere 4.2% of the population in low-income countries. Luckily, several global organizations have initiated various efforts to help make COVID-19 vaccine equity a reality.

The World Health Organization (WHO)

The World Health Organization (WHO) is a leader in global health initiatives. Its COVID-19 vaccine equity campaign is a roadmap to achieve vaccine equity. This roadmap sets the goal to administer a COVID-19 vaccine to at least 40% of the residents in every country by the end of 2021. It sets a second goal to vaccinate 70% of the global population by mid-2022. WHO is calling for countries and companies that control vaccine supplies to donate and contract with COVAX and The African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) to get the vaccines where they are most needed.

WHO also believes that individual efforts matter. It launched its GoGiveOne fundraising initiative to allow individual efforts to directly aid the vaccine equity campaign through crowdfunding. A donation of $6 amounts to one vaccine.

Global Dashboard for Vaccine Equity

The Global Dashboard for Vaccine Equity is a collaborative effort that the World Health Organization, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the University of Oxford launched with support across the U.N. It is a part of the SDG 3 Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being for All.

This initiative works towards global COVID-19 vaccine equity by sharing the latest data on the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. It also provides socioeconomic data to demonstrate why the acceleration of global vaccination is critical. The Dashboard shows how a faster rollout not only saves more lives but also supports a speedier pandemic recovery. Moreover, it presents and highlights important vaccine equity policies and uses these to help guide legislative change. Finally, the Dashboard aids in educating the public about COVID-19 vaccine equity through free resources and statistics.

Only organizations can directly participate in the Dashboard. Nevertheless, individuals have a significant part to play. Raising awareness and increasing knowledge about COVID-19 vaccine equity is the Dashboard’s primary goal.

African Vaccine Acquisition Trust

The African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) is a global effort that strives for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines across the African continent. To combat the looming vaccine inequality, in August 2020, a group of 10 people from throughout Africa gathered and became the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team. This team went on to found the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust and gain the endorsement of the African Union. Moreover, AVAT became an integral part of the Africa Vaccine Strategy. AVAT’s primary goal is ensuring the vaccination of at least 60% of the African population against COVID-19. Individuals can help through advocating for increased COVID-19 vaccine donations from their governments and through educating themselves about COVID-19 vaccine equity in Africa.

Realizing COVID-19 Vaccine Equity

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the world, vaccine equity should remain at the forefront of global efforts. Many developed countries are increasingly pledging to donate COVID-19 vaccines due to pressure from the global initiatives mentioned above. Therefore, it remains important for individuals to support the global COVID-19 vaccine equity initiatives to help make vaccine equity a reality.

– Nohad Awada
Photo: Unsplash