As part of the global vaccination campaign against the Covid-19 epidemic, people around the world are waking up thinking that good times are coming, the world is getting rid of the epidemic. But the slowness of the immunization program, the inequality in vaccine distribution, the lack of coordination between countries, vaccine policy, vaccine nationalism and racism, hypocrisy in the developed world and the hope of a âVaccine for allâ turned into despair.
Immunization equity means that all people in the world, wherever they live, will have equal access to vaccines, regardless of their economic or geographic location.
The United States, the European Union and India have banned the export of Corona vaccine or its raw materials. Adar Punewala, director of the Serum Institute of India, one of the world’s largest vaccine manufacturers, has made it clear that no other country will receive a vaccine now. Vaccine makers are on the verge of unimaginable profits. The increase in income from vaccine sales has created at least a dozen new billionaires around the world. Pfizer sold 3.5 billion vaccines in the first quarter of 2021 (January-March). But they want to give only 2% of their production to Covax. Moderna plans to sell 1.8 billion vaccines by the end of the year.
The poor world is unable to produce vaccines, but the Western world is reluctant to grant intellectual property for their vaccines to these countries. This is a legal right that exists in different states, so the original creator is given the sole right to decide whether or not a party other than the original creator of a basic creation can use that creation. Intellectual property is generally valid for a limited period. After this period, the work became open to everyone. But the developed world, for a limited period of time, does not want to cede intellectual property to other poor countries in order to perpetuate its own vaccine authority. However, experts claim that many countries around the world are able to produce vaccines on their own if they get the intellectual property.
The death toll in rich countries was 59% of official deaths worldwide in January this year. Due to the high vaccination rate, in May 2021, this rate stood at 15% of total deaths worldwide. But it is because of this vaccine inequality that 85% of the deaths that currently occur in developing countries and poor countries are due to the fact that the developed world has reduced its death rate by immunizing itself, and by immunizing and depriving the poor world of vaccines.
This answer cannot be accepted even in terms of morality. In the recent past, Bill Gates said, âOnly the rich countries will be ahead in the race for vaccine potency. Due to the uneven distribution of vaccines, the death rate is increasing at an unusually slow rate in poor countries. But the point is, everyone is at risk until everyone is vaccinated.
Vaccines have accumulated in most vaccine-producing countries. If they are not used soon, they will expire. Developed countries can donate to the poor world through Covax for logical reasons. Second, UNICEF fears that the way in which other vaccine-resistant vaccine activities have been hampered by Covid-19 will soon put the world at risk for many more diseases. As of October, 692 crore doses of the Covid-19 vaccine had been completed worldwide. Of these, 45.1 percent of the world’s population has already received two full doses. But the developed world continues its immunization activities 20 times faster than low-income countries.
However, in low-income countries, the vaccination rate is only 4.3 percent. Judging from a human and responsible point of view, the developed world cannot give an answer. Fourth, vaccine equity will widen the gap between rich and poor around the world, giving rise to new variants. Now is the time for the developed world to prove its sincerity to the poor world.
*Jubeda Chowdhury is a freelance writer with an MA in International Relations from the University of Dhaka.