While the Covid-19 pandemic’s effect on the health of low-income urban communities in the global South has not been insignificant, the results of state responses carried out without full consideration of poverty consequences have been very serious. Vaccination, which supports both health and economic recovery, is one way people can reduce the risk of further exclusion. This field note, drawing on surveys from informal settlements in Harare, Kampala, Lilongwe and Mumbai between August and November 2021 by national affiliates of Slum Dwellers International (SDI), provides a snapshot of how global vaccine inequalities have played out across these cities. We find that access to local vaccine programmes is influenced by both global supply and existing local-level inequities; that a low or unreliable supply, among other factors, limits political will to invest in reaching already underserved communities; and that local context and the heterogeneity of communities are key to understanding low vaccine uptake.