JAMA Health Forum  |  June 2, 2022

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Even before COVID-19 emerged in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, the prevailing global narrative was inequity—in health, income, race, and socioeconomic status. COVID-19 amplified all these inequities. Early in the pandemic, low-income countries were left without key medical resources, such as diagnostic tests, personal protective equipment, and ventilators. By 2021, inequitable vaccine distribution captured global attention and outrage. This year, high-income countries have bought the lion’s share of Paxlovid, a highly effective antiviral treatment. Vaccine inequities remain with only 16% of people in low-income countries having received at least 1 vaccine dose vs 80% of people across high-income countries.

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