For months, the focus of discussion about how to quickly solve the current crisis has been on finding an effective COVID-19 vaccine. Without a doubt, vaccines are among public health's best buys, since they save millions of lives every year all over the world.

Immunisation is key for avoiding deaths from several infectious diseases. Solving the current crisis through providing the worldwide population with a COVID-19 vaccine is a major step we need to take.

But we should not forget about other measures.

We now know that investments in the social determinants of health – in particular, education, income, physical environment, access to health services and paid sick leave – have a major influence on health outcomes. Social inequalities in health have been proven to impact COVID-19 morbidity and mortality, according to The Lancet Respiratory Medicine journal in its July edition.

Families from lower income groups are at higher risk of viral transmission because of crowded living spaces and lack of access to testing facilities and treatment.

A version of this article appears in the print on May 13, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.