Scientists developed Covid-19 vaccines at an unprecedented speed, and distribution has by some measures been wildly successful. Less than a year after the first approvals, nearly half the world's population has had at least a first shot.
And yet, while 70% of people in the highest-income countries have received a dose, that figure is less than 3% in the lowest-income countries. For both moral and practical reasons, it is urgent that we fix this gap.
As we look for solutions, some blame the vaccine makers. It should perhaps come as no surprise that people with little knowledge of science, economics, or the drug industry would take this view. But it's shocking to hear someone like Tom Frieden, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, espouse this particular brand of criticism. In an October tweet, Frieden accused vaccine makers Pfizer and Moderna of "war profiteering" for "failing to share their technology."