HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Thursday, March 30, 2023

We Charge Vaccine Apartheid?

Matiangai V. S. Sirleaf (University of Maryland), We Charge Vaccine Apartheid?, J. L., Med. & Ethics (Winter 2022):

Vaccine apartheid is creating conditions that make for premature death, poverty, and disease in racialized ways. Invoking vaccine apartheid as opposed to euphemisms like vaccine nationalism, is necessary to highlight the racialized distributional consequences of vaccine inequities witnessed with COVID-19. This commentary clarifies the concept of vaccine apartheid against the historical and legal usage of apartheid. It reflects on the connections and important disjunctions between the two. It places the intellectual property regime under heightened scrutiny for reform and transformation. This commentary finds that drawing on the intersections between a human rights and health justice approach can provide creative and novel approaches for anti-subordination. It concludes that acknowledging and naming the structural injustice of vaccine apartheid is only the first step towards providing redress.

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