Western Mass Science for the People is proud to co-sponsor this effort!
Over the last several months, a group of UMass faculty, staff, and students has been meeting to find ways to combat vaccine apartheid (the global vaccine inequity between the Global South and wealthy countries). We feel that there are actions we can take on our own campus, starting with acknowledging vaccine apartheid and educating others. We are looking for supporters to sign this petition asking that UMass Amherst’s COVID-related communications include a brief statement about the need to end vaccine apartheid. Continue reading below if you are interested in learning more about vaccine apartheid or would like to get involved in campus organizing against it.
More on Vaccine Apartheid
Ending the COVID-19 pandemic requires all eligible people around the globe to be fully vaccinated. That necessity has been stymied by political, racial, and economic inequities. People in wealthy countries often have access to third doses while billions of historically marginalized people in the Global South have not had access to a single dose.
This injustice is known as vaccine apartheid, a term that highlights the racist nature of this inequality. While this problem has deep historical roots, it is exacerbated in the present by the monopoly power of pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer and Moderna and by the complicity of Global North governments. Despite receiving billions of dollars in public monies, Pfizer and Moderna reject calls to share their mRNA technology, which would enable companies around the world to ramp up production of these life-saving vaccines. Vaccine apartheid has contributed to millions dying unnecessarily and the needless continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vaccine apartheid is both a moral crime and a threat to people in all countries. Low global vaccination rates allow the virus to replicate and mutate more easily, generating new variants like Delta and Omicron that complicate pandemic mitigation efforts. To stop new variants from spreading, and to address the racial inequality in access to public health resources, we must demand that these companies and our government facilitate the rapid vaccination of the entire global population.
How UMass Amherst Can Take Action
Unions and student organizations on the UMass Amherst campus are coming together to combat vaccine apartheid. We are educating each other and mobilizing a movement for vaccine justice. We begin with a request that the University include the following text in all emails, statements, and webpages related to COVID-19:
We, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, denounce “vaccine apartheid,” the inequitable distribution of vaccines and vaccine technologies to historically marginalized populations. We support health equity practices across the globe.
IF YOU SUPPORT THE UNIVERSITY’S ADOPTION OF THIS STATEMENT, or if you would like to provide feedback, PLEASE CLICK HERE.
Want to keep working to end vaccine apartheid? Consider adding a statement about vaccine apartheid to your email signature, course syllabi, or office door. Learn more about future actions to educate our community members and pressure Pfizer, Moderna, and our government to address systemic inequities. If you are interested in participating in local organizing at UMass Amherst, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the global movement for vaccine justice, visit https://justiceisglobal.org/endthepandemiceverywhere.