As vaccine manufacturers are undertaking clinical tests to prove the efficiency of their anti COVID-19 drugs, vaccine distribution has become a political issue. The term “vaccine nationalism” has been brought up by the World Health Organization (WHO) and WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is calling on rich nations to stop putting their own interests ahead of other nations. He warns that vaccine “hoarding” can only make the pandemic worse.
Why the WHO is Calling on Rich Nations to Refrain from Practicing Vaccine Nationalism
In a world of roughly 8 billion people, there is a growing fear that the advance agreements to prioritize the domestic markets of rich nations will only make the COVID-19 vaccines unavailable and unaffordable to smaller and poorer countries. Unlike the rich EU-member countries, the UK as well as the U.S , not all countries can afford the multi-billion pre-purchase deals entered into with leading vaccine manufacturers like AstraZeneca Plc, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer Inc, even before the clinical effectiveness have been proven..
Still, in order not to let vaccine nationalism put smaller and poorer countries at a disadvantage, the WHO has established a Covax Facility. Together with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, the Covax Facility intends to purchase two billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines, which the WHO will deploy and distribute across low income and poorer countries. However, the initiative is projected to actually roll out by the end of next year.
In the UK, an anti-poverty group called ONE Campaign commissioned a polling firm to find out how Britons feel about vaccine nationalism. Conducted sometime in mid-August, the poll surveys showed a majority of those who responded to the survey do not approve of vaccine nationalism. The Director of ONE Campaign Romilly Greenhill, said the poll results show that the British people clearly understand the need to address a global pandemic with a global response, instead of each country going their own separate ways.