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Unequal Covid-19 Vaccine Distribution Blocks Global Tourism Recovery

The pandemic has brought the travel industry to a halt. The development and distribution of vaccines was expected to get the virus under control, but until vaccination programs are widely available, restrictions on international travel and tourism are likely to remain.

Whereas ramping up vaccination rates for Covid-19 is expected to help boost the recovery in the travel and tourism industry, Things will not return to any semblance of normality until the whole world is vaccinated against Covid-19

As clearly put by the World Health Organization officials, The unequal distribution of vaccines is not only a moral outrage but economically and epidemiologically self-defeating

It is no secret that some of the world’s richest nations have a surplus supply of COVID-19 vaccines. In fact, it was expected. However, only 1% of people in low-income countries have not received at least one vaccine dose. (Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus)

More and more countries that are economically dependent on tourism have decided to give priority to employees in the tourism sector; However, The vaccine scarcity is becoming another pandemic of a sort as rich economies are rather considering giving 3rd shots (immunity boosters) to their own citizens when actually over 80 percent of the population in less developed economies have not received even one.  

The hope is that the vaccination will allow for a full return to economic activity and recovery. When it comes to international tourism, the prospects for a quick recovery remain very uncertain.

Regional or international agreements on vaccine passes are still lacking. Current travel bubbles between places with low COVID-19 risks are rare and fragile. Going forward, countries need urgently to come together to establish harmonized protocols that ease international travel. 

International travel is not only important for the tourism sector, but for international business and cooperation in general.

It is no secret that the recovery process is also expected to be uneven, both in terms of outbound and inbound travelers. People from economies with fast and successful vaccine roll-outs will probably be the first to travel en masse again. Likewise, economies that have achieved a faster widespread vaccination would more likely be the first to open their borders for international tourism.

Diseases as infectious and deadly as COVID-19 thrive on inequity. Having already cost over 4 million lives worldwide and caused unprecedented damage to global GDP – $76.7 billion in the best-case scenario and $346.98 billion in the worst – it is evident that the pandemic is a global problem, thus necessitating a global solution. Not only does leaving large swathes of the world’s population unvaccinated allow for deadly variants to wreak havoc, but it allows for possibly more dangerous ones to emerge – an eventual vaccine-resistant strain could put us all back to square one.

It is no secret that some of the world’s richest nations have a surplus supply of Covid-19 vaccine. Infact, it was expected. However, People in the low-income countries have not received even one vaccine dose

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus-dG, WHO

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