September 16, 2019
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 In Vaccine Equity and Access

Country: Nigeria
Delegate Name: Emma Martin-Sharples

The equitable distribution of vaccinations has been recognized by the UN as an indisputable human right. The World Health Organization is committed to global vaccine distribution. This is supported by Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, stating that it covers the rights those have to sanitation, medical care, and social protection. According to WHO, 23 million children did not receive critical vaccinations due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic as of 2020. The growing inequities in vaccine distribution in many countries is caused by the financial burden new vaccinations create. The distinct connection between wealth inequality and vaccine inequity as well as the unique needs of individual countries for protection and distribution of vaccines have led to immunization gaps. In order to address these gaps, WHO must expand data-sharing and develop vaccine education while also considering which social and economic barriers prevent certain countries from gaining fair vaccine distribution.

The Federal Republic of Nigeria has struggled with gaining equitable access to vaccines. Although vaccinations have been developed for 20 deadly diseases, Nigeria has been continuously neglected in the distribution of these vaccines. Contributing to its low vaccination rates is Nigeria’s high impoverished population. Around 39% of wealthy and 5% of poor children have received complete immunization from diseases whose vaccinations are eligible for youths. As of 2020, 40%, or 83 million Nigerians, were reported to be living in poverty. This number is estimated to raise to 90 million in 2021. These rates have led Nigeria to be the second-worst-hit African country by the COVID-19 pandemic, with Africa accounting for less than 2% of all COVID-19 vaccines administered worldwide. Nigeria’s public health systems have been severely impacted with high unemployment rates and doctor strikes. With around 213,000 cases and 3,000 deaths, Nigeria’s people are in dire need of more vaccines.

Countries with higher poverty rates are in need of equitable vaccine distribution. To overcome these economic barriers, Nigeria and other third world countries must seek help from wealthier countries in receiving medical care for their citizens. By raising money from other countries, Nigeria could transport more affordable vaccinations to its people and decrease the effects of the pandemic. Reducing the spread of infectious diseases globally is beneficial for a population’s health and a country’s economy. If wealthy countries like the USA and Germany donate money and vaccinations to third world countries, it would allow countries like Nigeria to obtain quality health services without suffering financial hardship.

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