To the Editor:
“With potential vaccine approval looming, Pritzker warns of long process,” printed Dec. 4, reminds us that vaccine approval won’t be a magic bullet for a world rocked by COVID-19. People struggling here and around the world have been waiting for months for Congress to pass an emergency COVID-19 response bill. We need help now and for the long months to come.
Vaccine nationalism is rampant as wealthy countries like the U.S., the U.K. and Canada have gobbled up early vaccine commitments. So, we know the world’s most vulnerable people will wait the longest. Meanwhile, global health problems rise as a side effect of COVID-19.
The World Food Program projects that global hunger will double, and thousands of infants will suffer or die of severe malnutrition. The WHO, Gavi, and UNICEF estimate 80 million children are at risk of vaccine-preventable disease for lack of access to regular health services.
I call on Sens. Durbin and Duckworth to get creative, fight, and prioritize passing an emergency COVID-19 package that includes at least $20 billion in funding for global health and nutrition to help lower-income countries.
Cynthia Changyit Levin
Town and Country, Missouri