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Tackling Inequality in Vaccine Distribution

Talking to Simprints' Alexandra Grigore

Feb 01, 2021

As the world continues the fight against Covid-19, all eyes are on the vaccine distribution, as governments work to secure doses for those who need it most. In their annual letter Bill and Melinda Gates warn us that the lasting legacy of the coronavirus pandemic could be “immunity inequality” — a wide gap between wealthy people and nations, with easy access to coronavirus vaccines, and everyone else.

We caught up with Alexandra Grigore, CPO & Co-Founder of Simprints, whose organization is at the forefront of working to ensure that vaccines get to the right people – not just the wealthiest.

Why is vaccine access important to you?

“We’re trying to reach everybody. If we don’t have equitable distribution – if we don’t reach the poorest people then we’re going to have a problem. We’re going to have people in these countries who just have to live with covid on a day to day basis, just like they live with tuberculosis and HIV. It won’t be eradicated. This has huge ramifications in terms of second order deaths. It’s not just about a vaccine. It’s about health. We think about how we can reach people so they can lead healthy lives, so they can go to school, get an education, get a job and thrive in other ways. Health and good health runs through all of that. This is how we look at righting injustices.”

What is Simprints doing to fight injustice in vaccine distribution?

“Simprints’ mission is to change the way we tackle poverty. We can’t do that if we don’t know who we’re reaching. With the proliferation of digital health systems comes the opportunity to leverage digital ID tools, like biometrics, to tackle the challenge of making sure that every vaccine gets to the right person and that distribution programs have the intended impact.”

Why Biometrics?

“A biometric is something that’s a part of you. Unlike a driver’s license or passport, it’s not something you can lose or that someone can steal. Biometrics can be used to ensure – and track access to healthcare services that people need.”

 

What can people do to help?

  • Advocate through whatever avenues you have access to for equitable vaccine distribution in your community
  • Get a Covid vaccine when you’re able to access it
  • Support Gavi, The Global Fund and CEPI
  • Think about change on a systems level. Are the charities you’re supporting working towards better long-term healthcare, or are they (important) short-term solutions? Be mindful about what you want to achieve with your charitable spending

Learn more about Alexandra and Simprints’ work at simprints.com.