The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a need for equitable access to vaccines and related supplies worldwide, particularly low- and middle-income countries where most new infections have been emerging. Furthermore, COVID-19 has highlighted existing social inequalities and health disparities which must be addressed. It has highlighted differences in vaccination rates between communities of color and white people for example – thus prompting the CDC’s ongoing work identifying barriers and opportunities for increasing vaccine uptake and equity as a response.
COVID-19 is a coronavirus that infiltrates respiratory systems. The virus often spreads when someone with it coughs or sneezes, discharging tiny droplets into the air that can then be inhaled; or when people touch an object containing the virus and then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth after touching it with their hands – leading to serious and life-threatening infections like encephalitis, brain inflammation or pneumonia.
People are at increased risk of serious illness from viruses if they have certain medical conditions or lifestyle choices that make them susceptible, including coronary artery disease and cardiovascular disease, liver or kidney diseases, HIV infection or having had chronic illness that has compromised immunity; smoking; being pregnant or breastfeeding also increases your risk.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggests that everyone get vaccinated against COVID-19, especially those at higher risk. Their website includes information on where you can locate a provider and get free or reduced-cost vaccine.
Public and private partners in the US have made tremendous efforts to advance global vaccine delivery with Gavi and COVAX, including more than $300 million in financial contributions as well as millions of doses distributed through these partnerships. They will remain at the forefront of efforts worldwide to protect all people against coronavirus infections; with particular attention paid to protecting vulnerable groups.
While the end of US federal PHE for COVID-19 has seen a drop in cases, its wider effects will take time to materialize. As vaccines move into wider use and restrictions ease off, a thorough assessment must take place as lessons learned are applied towards future responses; such as social distancing strategies like school closures affecting community wellbeing as well as any residual effects from lockdown strategies in some regions. Seattle & King County will monitor changes to key economic, social, and health indicators related to these strategies – including school absences, business closures, local vaccine uptake; all information will be shared online dashboard for access via real time updates from Seattle& King County residents themselves.