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Boosted privilege

January 5, 2022

Well, of course, I’m going to get the Covid booster shot on offer this Saturday. Of course. It doesn’t mean part of me doesn’t feel guilty and just a bit angry. Why the hell should I be getting a third vaccination when less than 50% of the world’s population hasn’t had one shot?

When I was a little kid and tried to get away with not eating my least favourite food on the dinner plate, my mother would say, “Think of the starving children in Africa.” Eventually I challenged her on this faulty logic. “How,” I demanded to know, “is me eating this going to help them?” After that it was just, “Eat your dinner.”

There is no point in declining a booster shot. It’s not as if the vaccine I decline can suddenly be magicked away into the arm of a Yemini or someone from the Democratic Republic of Congo. So I’ll be a good girl and have the shot, as I’ve had the others, to protect myself and those around me. I have the choice to make this decision. I just wish everyone else on the planet did.

Don’t get me started on the people who, like me, have a choice, but choose not to get their jab. Oh, too late, I’ve started. It drives me mad that in the US and many other Western countries where vaccines are freely available there is a notable percentage of the population who’ve bought into crazy claims like microchips and infertility and exploding testicles or who are just too bloody minded to do the right thing. People who protest outside hospitals. People who shout or hold up signs saying “MY BODY, MY CHOICE” – many if not most of whom would happily deny choice to women seeking to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. A pox on all their houses.

The organisation Our World in Data has produced an excellent chart on vaccination progress around the world since December 2020 when the first vaccines were approved. Slightly less than half the world’s population has been fully vaccinated. (Suspect this data is based on two shots and does not include boosters.) Somehow 118% of Gibraltar’s population is fully jabbed. Now look at Burundi: less than 0.1%. The DRC: 0.1%. Haiti: 0.6%. Yemen: 1.2%. Ethiopia: 1.4%.

Remember last June when G7 leaders promised to donate a billion vaccine doses to poorer countries? No sooner was the pledge made than Antonio Guterres, head of the United Nations, warned:  “if people in developing countries are not inoculated quickly, the virus could mutate further and become resistant to the new vaccines” (well, he got that right), adding, “We need more than that. We need a global vaccination plan. We need to act with a logic, with a sense of urgency, and with the priorities of a war economy, and we are still far from getting that.”

And that was before the richest countries decided everyone at home needed a third, booster shot. 

I can’t seem to find information on how many of the one billion doses have actually been donated, but I’m prepared to bet the amount – which was never anywhere close to enough – falls substantially short.

It may be easier for a camel to squeeze through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven, but the rich countries have made it even more difficult for the poor to get a vaccine needle in their arms.  

Yes, I’ll take the booster which may help me stay healthy, but the fact that this will be my third shot when so many around the world haven’t had access to their first does make me feel sick.

From → Columns

  1. janeshead permalink

    Same. I felt like if there were an option to send my booster shot to a developing country instead of into my arm, I’d do that. But as there isn’t, in my arm then. (For all the good it did! – still, I imagine I’d be sicker without.)

    • Get well soon. Hope you’re managing to catch up on reading.

      • janeshead permalink

        I keep falling asleep while reading. Feckin knackered. This virus really takes it out of you.

  2. krysross permalink


  3. Susan Yates permalink

    Good one…the head-banger for me is the party-people who figure they need the rapid test as a way to ensure their attendance at the next nitwit gathering.

  4. caseyparry permalink

    I’ve felt exactly the same. What I did (on a colleague’s suggestion) was donate to help the wider vaccination effort:
    A sop to my conscience, maybe, but it’s better than nowt.

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