The pleas from the World Health Organization for equal distribution of Covid-19 vaccines among developed and poorer countries have become increasingly desperate. There are no shortage of promises; in the latest vow, health ministers from the Group of 20 nations recently ended two days of talks in Rome in a spirit of solidarity, pledging to cooperate in the name of equality and justice. They gave no specifics on timelines, doses or financial help, although some governments are offering stocks when available. But political rhetoric is meaningless unless it is followed up with action and that is urgently needed given the intrinsic links between infection and injection. Asia’s rich, powerful grab Covid-19 booster shots at common folk’s expense WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has labelled vaccine inequity a “catastrophic moral failure”. A year ago, dozens of countries committed to the Covax Facility, a programme to deliver vaccines fairly to every part of the world. But it is falling far short of its goal of having 40 per cent of the global population inoculated against the coronavirus by the end of the year. The initiative faces cutting its forecasts for supplies by a quarter, due in large part to wealthier countries hoarding jabs while low-income nations are going without, continuing the relentless climbing number of infections and deaths. The quickest way to control worsening tolls in poorer countries is for wealthier ones, which have already attained high levels of vaccination, to distribute excess doses to Covax and other regional mechanisms. But with rates approaching 70 per cent in much of the West and barely 2 per cent in Africa, that alone is not the solution. With the pandemic still raging in many places and more deadly and transmissible variants threatening immunised populations, a dramatic increase in the supply of jabs is needed. That requires more production facilities, technology transfers and pharmaceutical companies being less protective about vaccines. Coronavirus: China recommends booster shots for high-risk groups Some governments are using excess vaccines to give booster jabs that are not urgently needed. The supplies should instead be promptly given to Covax. Unless developed countries turn words to deeds, attaining herd immunity of at least 70 per cent everywhere will be impossible, scuttling hopes for a global return to normality.