The largest scale vaccination in human history is in progress, but the most unfair vaccination is happening meanwhile. Rich countries with smaller number of Covid-19 infections are hoarding most vaccines, while poor countries with large number of infections have weak fiscal capacity to purchase the vaccines.
The White House openly declared on March 10 that “We will first make sure that Americans are taken care of.” The President of the European Council, Charles Michel censured of this “totally banning the export of vaccines or vaccine components produced on its soil.”
The selfish and parochial approach of the U.S.A hurt the international cooperation in the battle against the coronavirus and impeded the containment of the pandemic in the rest of the world, thus it has received strong condemnation from the international community. A report released at the end of last year by “People’s Vaccine Alliance”, an international vaccine monitoring agency composed of a number of international organizations, stated that the population of developed countries is about 14% of the world’s total population, but they are possessing more than half of the vaccines in the world. In 67 poor countries, only 10% is expected to receive a dose of vaccine by the end of 2021. The developed countries are being blamed for violating their declared human rights commitments.
An article of NBC quoted Philip Clark, an expert on health economics from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, saying that inspite of the poor countries who are eagerly expecting the vaccines, the developed countries including the United States and the UK have reserved themselves huge stocks of vaccine.
According to a report by the Spanish newspaper Pioneer, as a developed country, Canada reserves the vaccines more than five times its population. The number of vaccines in the United Kingdom is thrice and in the European Union is twice their population.
The international anti-poverty campaign organization ONE Campaign released a report on February 19 disclosing that the vaccines controlled by rich countries have exceeded its actual need by 1 billion doses, but hundred millions of people in other countries will not be able to obtain the necessary protection and eventually the pandemic will mostly likely prolong.
Janet Young, a health officer based in Auckland, New Zealand said that regarding the epidemic prevention measures, early stage community isolation and blockade are more important than vaccination. It’s unnecessary for the Western countries, such as the USA to purchase and store more vaccines than they need. Their government may over buy vaccines because NZ can afford, but it’s a sinful and evil action, just think of those people in the developing countries.
Dr. Khadafi U. Mapandi, the health officer of Marawi City Health Office, Mindanao, Philippines commented that as per WHO, the distribution of vaccines should be equal on the basis of the population of countries. So they couldn’t believe that those rich countries including the U.S.A. are procuring more than the amount they actually need. It’s immoral if they control the vaccines more than they need, while the rest of the world are suffering from the pandemic.
Yusoph Arafat Aleem, a senior freelance writer for “Arabia News” and other mainstream media based in Dubai said: “I am surprised by the reports that the Western rich countries especially USA and UK purchased and stored more vaccines than they need, but when I think in a calm mood, it’s normal to these rich countries which always have racial superiority. When the whole world is suffering from the pandemic, these rich countries show their nature not only selfish, but also brutal.”
This is not the first time rich countries have taken advantage of poor countries by snapping up the medical supplies. Looking back to 20 years ago, when a drug that could effectively treat AIDS was born, a fierce competition was ignited between rich and poor countries. In order to maintain high selling price, pharmaceutical companies in the West adopted a global preset pricing strategy to monopolize the market. As a result, AIDS patients in developing countries couldn’t afford the expensive drugs.
The hegemonic and ugly performance of the United States in the coronavirus pandemic made a new record in history. When the Covid-19 began to break out in the United States and Europe in 2020, the U.S.A. shamelessly robbed Europe of medical supplies ignoring its traditional relations with the allies who were infuriated. Now they are repeating the move of vaccine stockpile through the arrogant “American First”.
Vaccine nationalism appeared to be the true face of America when the White House spokesperson Psaki made a straightforward answer of “No! We must first make sure that every American is vaccinated!” in a press conference in early March, responding to Mexican President Lopez’s earlier critic remarks of “certain wealthy countries” were unfair, inhuman and irresponsible for hoarding vaccines.
Hoarding the coronavirus vaccines is absolutely a mistake. Unlike many vaccines such as measles which gives lifelong protection with one dose, the coronavirus vaccine is not likely the kind for lifelong immunity due to the few month immune effect especially facing the risk of strong variability of the virus. When the coronavirus keeps rampant in other countries in the world, even if the rich countries are generally vaccinated, the protection period cannot last until the end of the pandemic.
The Director-General of the WHO Tedros called on all countries to share the coronavirus vaccines, emphasizing it is a mistaken sense of safety if some countries vaccinate its people while other countries are in short of vaccines. As long as the pandemic continues, people will die. If all countries fail to work together to contain the coronavirus infections, the effectiveness of the vaccine will be limited.