Click to join an upcoming live event

Turn off Ads (click)

Click on your language to translate this article:

Afrikaans Afrikaans Albanian Albanian Amharic Amharic Arabic Arabic Armenian Armenian Azerbaijani Azerbaijani Basque Basque Belarusian Belarusian Bengali Bengali Bosnian Bosnian Bulgarian Bulgarian Catalan Catalan Cebuano Cebuano Chichewa Chichewa Chinese (Simplified) Chinese (Simplified) Chinese (Traditional) Chinese (Traditional) Corsican Corsican Croatian Croatian Czech Czech Danish Danish Dutch Dutch English English Esperanto Esperanto Estonian Estonian Filipino Filipino Finnish Finnish French French Frisian Frisian Galician Galician Georgian Georgian German German Greek Greek Gujarati Gujarati Haitian Creole Haitian Creole Hausa Hausa Hawaiian Hawaiian Hebrew Hebrew Hindi Hindi Hmong Hmong Hungarian Hungarian Icelandic Icelandic Igbo Igbo Indonesian Indonesian Irish Irish Italian Italian Japanese Japanese Javanese Javanese Kannada Kannada Kazakh Kazakh Khmer Khmer Korean Korean Kurdish (Kurmanji) Kurdish (Kurmanji) Kyrgyz Kyrgyz Lao Lao Latin Latin Latvian Latvian Lithuanian Lithuanian Luxembourgish Luxembourgish Macedonian Macedonian Malagasy Malagasy Malay Malay Malayalam Malayalam Maltese Maltese Maori Maori Marathi Marathi Mongolian Mongolian Myanmar (Burmese) Myanmar (Burmese) Nepali Nepali Norwegian Norwegian Pashto Pashto Persian Persian Polish Polish Portuguese Portuguese Punjabi Punjabi Romanian Romanian Russian Russian Samoan Samoan Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic Serbian Serbian Sesotho Sesotho Shona Shona Sindhi Sindhi Sinhala Sinhala Slovak Slovak Slovenian Slovenian Somali Somali Spanish Spanish Sudanese Sudanese Swahili Swahili Swedish Swedish Tajik Tajik Tamil Tamil Telugu Telugu Thai Thai Turkish Turkish Ukrainian Ukrainian Urdu Urdu Uzbek Uzbek Vietnamese Vietnamese Welsh Welsh Xhosa Xhosa Yiddish Yiddish Yoruba Yoruba Zulu Zulu
Editorial etn Feature Article Government and Public Sector Tourism News Health News USA Travel News

Vaccine war and its impact on lower-income countries

A couple of weeks ago, once again the last meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) did not produce any result in the vaccine war.

  1. Rich countries have repeatedly recognized the need to guarantee access to COVID-19 vaccines all around the world.
  2. There is, however, the issues of vaccine hoarding and the gigantic purchasing options of rich countries versus lower-income countries.
  3. Google it – Nobody is safe until everyone is safe.

An India and South Africa proposal that patents against COVID-19 be liberalized was not approved during the WTO meeting, despite the majority support of the organization’s member countries. The proposal would have suspended other intellectual property rights as well, but the main area of contention between rich and poor countries was the vaccine war.

Between November and March, rich countries have repeatedly recognized (G20 in Abu Dhabi and G7 in Geneva) the need to guarantee access to vaccines for all. Very popular (almost 84 million results in a Google search) is the statement: “Nobody is safe until everyone is safe.” However, the stability of the percentage of vaccinations carried out in the first 10 countries (75.5% of total vaccinations, which rises to 83.3% if one considers the first 15) may give rise to doubts about its impact on concrete actions, and this is confirmed by the WTO debate.

In this debate, rich countries have entrenched themselves behind 2 arguments: one general – research and innovation assume the guarantee and protection of intellectual property rights, and the other specific – a possible suspension would not necessarily lead to increase the vaccine supply.

This last argument shamelessly ignores the vaccine hoarding and the gigantic purchasing options of rich countries. It has been often mentioned that Canada has made commitments that would allow to vaccinate almost 5 times its population. But this case is not unique. For example, Italy, whose population is about 60 million, has signed agreements to receive by the end of 2022, 40 million AstraZeneca doses, 65.8 Pfizer, 26.6 Johnson and Johnson, 40.4 Sanofi, 29.9 Curevac, and 39.8 Moderna. Estimated cost, according to Ms. De Bleeker in an accidental publication of the list of prices, 3 months ago, would be 2.5 billion dollars, but since then some prices have increased.

This cost is 1% of the recovery fund granted to Italy by the European Union and would represent about the 10% of Sub-Saharan countries’ total GNP. An Associated Press note of one month ago underscored that the different prices paid by different countries depend on local production costs and size of the order and that the often announced statement that poor countries might pay less may have been wishful thinking. (Maria Cheng and Lori Hinnant, March 1)

Another argument is that only rich countries would be able to produce vaccines.

This is plainly false.