When the first coronovirus vaccine, approved and tested by experts, was adopted this week by 90-year-old Margaret Keenan, many believed the pandemic might be within reach. The fact that the first vaccines were approved in record time and some more are awaiting approval is a historic event for rich countries. However, public health officials in developing countries fear that competition will eventually cease with the availability of vaccines. Past experience of inequality has led many to believe that the promise of global solidarity will also fall on deaf ears to the coronovirus vaccine. A report by the US media CNN has expressed such apprehension.
Rich countries have been buying vaccines like crazy for the past few months. According to the Duke Global Health Innovation Center, many countries have signed bilateral agreements worth hundreds of billions of dollars to purchase a potential vaccine. Many other countries and regional alliances have pre-ordered higher doses of the vaccine than their total population. The People’s Vaccine Alliance, an international vaccine watchdog, said last week that rich countries had purchased three times as many doses of the vaccine to vaccinate all their people.
The Canadian government alone has purchased five to six times more vaccines than the total population. They may also not be allowed to apply all the vaccines already ordered.
According to the People’s Vaccine Alliance, as rich countries purchase more vaccines, around 70 poor countries will be able to vaccinate one out of every ten people by 2021.
Professor Gregory Hussey of the University of Cape Town said, “Despite the promise of equality around the world, seeing vaccine nationalism is ubiquitous, it’s disappointing.”
John Nakengsong, head of Africa’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that poor countries’ inability to obtain vaccines can be frightening. “The time has come for the litmus test (special test for acid detection) of global solidarity and cooperation,” he said.
“Some countries will buy additional doses of the vaccine and people in other parts of the world will not get the vaccine at all – it may not be ethical,” Nakengsong said.
Solidarity, only in principle
At the beginning of the year, when corona infections began to intensify in various countries and hospitals began to fill up, a global initiative was launched to provide vaccines for all. The initiative, named Kovacs, is led by the Vaccine Alliance Zavi. This initiative has been done in two ways. High and middle income countries have promised significant amounts of money to produce vaccines and make them accessible to all. Separate initiatives are being taken to ensure that the vaccine has access to the poorest countries, particularly in Africa. Vaccines in these countries are funded by various development agencies and charities such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
So far 189 countries have joined these two initiatives. However, the United States and Russia were not significantly involved in the initiative.
Last week, the top infectious disease specialist in the United States. Anthony Fuchi stated in his personal view that the United States has a moral obligation to ensure the proper delivery of the Kovid-19 vaccine.
The need for uniform distribution of vaccines is not simply a financial issue. A spokesman for Zavi said that the coalition had raised more than ₹ 200 million to buy vaccines for poor countries. And next year it will need another five billion dollars.
However, the amount of vaccine already sold cannot be purchased with money. COAX’s main donor countries, such as the European Union, the United Kingdom and Canada, have entered into bilateral agreements with various pharmaceutical companies. The People’s Vaccine Alliance says that these agreements may ignore the CoVAX agreement.
Public health officials and scientists in Africa recall the bitter experience of finding life-saving drugs for HIV / AIDS. Although this drug is available in the western world, they have had to go through difficult times to get it. Despite recent calls for similar solidarity, the H1N1 flu vaccine arrived on the continent several months after the epidemic reached its peak.
Professor Gregory Hussey feels that the Kovid-19 vaccine debate is reminiscent of those bitter experiences. “This is not a new situation,” he said. The same has happened in the past. ‘
African authorities hope that if the message of solidarity does not rise above moral reasoning, public health reasoning may be able to do so. To end the Kovid-19 epidemic, it must be wiped out from all places.
World Health Organization (WHO) Africa Region Vaccine Development Coordinator. “No one can be safe unless everyone is safe,” Richard Mishingo said. We are living in a unified world, even if those countries protect themselves, they have to live in isolation. We need a world where we can all interact. Not just socially, but also financially. ‘