Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Matthew Wilson


Coronavirus vaccines saved millions of lives, but experts estimate that the suboptimal production and inequitable distribution of shots resulted in nearly 3 million preventable Covid-19 deaths in 2021 and 2022 as well as millions of indirect deaths during the pandemic. These avoidable fatalities are inseparable from the grotesquely unequal vaccination rates between rich and poor nations. Dose hoarding by high-income countries contributed to vaccine inequality, but the “vaccine apartheid” inflicted on low-income countries reflects an even more fundamental injustice: knowledge hoarding by profit-maximizing pharmaceutical corporations—aided and abetted by wealthy governments—which deprived generic manufacturers of the right to produce additional lifesaving jabs and led to artificial scarcity and needless suffering. The knowledge underlying Covid-19 vaccines stems from billions of dollars in public funding, but corporate-friendly intellectual property rules enabled Big Pharma to monopolize these technologies in what amounts to a lethal manifestation of “accumulation by dispossession.”

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)