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Expand chart
Data: KFF; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

The world as a whole is on track to meet the WHO's goal of 70% of the global population vaccinated by mid-2022. But low-income countries are very much not, according to a new KFF analysis.

Why it matters: Without some kind of intervention, people who live in low-income countries will keep dying long into the future as the virus keeps circulating, and the risk of dangerous new variants will rise.

Between the lines: Europe and the Americas initially had the world's highest vaccination rates.

  • Over the summer, the Western Pacific region surpassed them, and the South-East Asia region is also seeing vaccination rates quickly climb.
  • The Eastern Mediterranean region is lagging behind, and only about 6% of Africa's population has received at least one dose.

What they're saying: "Instead of working together to support common sense proposals to vaccinate the world as quickly as possible, the G7, the EU and the pharmaceutical corporations have signed a 'devil's pact,'" The People's Vaccine Alliance, which advocates for greater vaccine equity, wrote in a white paper released yesterday.

  • "[W]ealthy countries hoard doses and break promises, while pharmaceutical corporations exploit their monopolies to earn record profits."

Go deeper

Judge temporarily blocks Biden vaccine mandate for federal contractors

Photo: Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images

A federal judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked President Biden's vaccine mandate for federal contractors nationwide.

Why it matters: It's the latest setback in the Biden administration's rollout of COVID-19 vaccine requirements. Federal judges in two states temporarily barred the administration from enforcing mandates for millions of workers last week.

Dec 7, 2021 - Health

Report: COVID exacerbated young people's "unprecedented" mental health challenges

Surgeon General Dr. Vivek H. Murthy speaks during a press briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. on July 15. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. surgeon general warned on Tuesday young people face "unprecedented" mental health challenges — and the pandemic has only made matters worse.

Why it matters: Depression, suicidal ideation and emergency room visits for mental health reasons have risen significantly in young people, according to the 53-page advisory from the country's top physician, Dr. Vivek H. Murthy.

Updated 59 mins ago - Health

New Zealand aims to create smoke-free generation with tobacco ban

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at a December news conference in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand officials announced Thursday legislative plans to outlaw smoking by making it illegal to sell or supply tobacco products to the next generation as part of a lifetime ban.

Why it matters: "People aged 14 when the law comes into effect will never be able to legally purchase tobacco," Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall said in a statement announcing the proposed law, part of the Smokefree 2025 Action Plan.