ISLAMABAD, October 21 (online): A recent poll found that one in three Americans would not be willing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, while anti-vaxxers have reportedly gained at least 7.8 million new social media followers since 2019. Like the pandemic itself, anti-vax misinformation and rumors know no borders. The biggest tragedy is that the resulting vaccine hesitancy threatens to hurt poor people the most.
The poor have already been hit hardest by the pandemic, losing lives, livelihoods, and access to nutrition and health care. Increasing numbers of women and children from marginalized populations are falling outside the reach of public services – as reflected in the increased incidence of gender-based violence, the rise in teenage pregnancies, and the decline in skilled birth attendance. One million more children could die in the next six months because of the pandemic’s knock-on effects, with the bulk of these deaths occurring among the poor.