Publication date: Feb 01, 2024
The aim of the study was to discuss the catastrophic consequences of inequitable vaccine distribution and analyze the main challenges to address it, helping to guide efforts to address inequities in vaccine coverage. All published papers written in English were searched through PubMed, Web of Science, and Google Scholar with the combination of relevant terms of COVID-19 vaccine inequity. In this paper, we first outlined the scope of inequitable vaccine distribution and identify its truly catastrophic consequences. Next, from the perspectives of political will, free markets, and profit-driven enterprises based on patent and intellectual property protection, we analyzed in depth the root causes of why this phenomenon is so difficult to combat. In addition, some specific and crucial solutions that should be undertaken in the long term were also put forward in order to provide a useful reference for the authorities, stakeholders, and researchers involved in addressing this worldwide crisis and the next one. Achieving COVID-19 vaccine equity faces funding gaps, vaccine nationalism, and barriers to access to intellectual property and technology. Thus, the scope of global vaccine inequity is immense, and its repercussions will continue to be felt worldwide, especially among the world’s most vulnerable residents, both adults and children. Beyond fundamental issues, the growing vaccine hesitancy and unreliable distribution in low-income countries must be addressed.