Whether a population is well vaccinated correlates strongly with life expectancy at birth. Given the levels of vaccine inequity across the development spectrum, that comes as no surprise: low life expectancy correlates with lower levels of income, which also correlates with vaccine coverage. But it provides another lens to highlight how regressive the global vaccination campaign has turned out to be: it is exactly the countries where people are expected to live shorter lives that are the least protected through vaccines.
As the chart above illustrates, much of the variation in the relationship between full vaccination and life expectancy at birth is due to the variation in income levels. High-income countries (HICs) are at the very top, followed closely by upper-middle-income countries (UMICs) even though these are characterized by much-greater dispersion in both the vaccination and the life expectancy variables. A similar pattern holds true for the lower-middle-income countries (LMICs). Low-income countries (LICs) universally have suffered both low life expectancy and low vaccination rates.
The gallery below drills down a little deeper into the heterogeneity we observe within each income group, where we have labelled the largest countries in the sample with their country codes.
The following patterns are apparent:
Among LICs, the relationship between life expectancy and vaccination is mostly flat. We see considerable heterogeneity (at lower levels) in life expectancy but almost universally the vaccination rate is very low.