As preparations are made for the G7 Summit in the UK next week, top of the agenda is how to end the COVID-19 pandemic and secure the global recovery. Urgent challenges face us.

By now it has become abundantly clear there will be no broad-based recovery without an end to the health crisis. There has been impressive progress on the vaccination front. Scientists have come up with multiple vaccines in record time.

Unprecedented public and private financing has supported vaccine research, development and manufacturing scale-up. But a dangerous gap between richer and poorer nations persists.

Even as some affluent countries are already discussing the rollout of booster shots to their populations, the vast majority of people in developing countries - even the frontile workers - have still not received their first shot. The worst served are low-income nations, which have received less than 1 percent of vaccines administered so far.

Increasingly, a two-track pandemic is developing, with richer countries having access and poorer ones being left behind.

A version of this article appears in the print on June 3, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.