Vaccine Nationalism: When will you get the vaccine?
Every day, each country in the world is recording numerous cases of COVID-19 for the last one year. Each day many lives are lost to this battle, whose solution lies in a vaccine, still under trial. But wealthier countries have found a way to politicise the situation by entering into pre-purchase agreements with COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers.
Today, when there is a need for the implementation of a strategic move, for who gets the vaccine first. There is a fear that wealthy countries might hoard vaccines. There are fears that such agreements might also make vaccines unaffordable and inaccessible to everyone else except for these countries.
It is indeed surprising that even though the world currently grapples with an unknown virus that has taken millions of lives away. There still seems to be room for politics with vaccine nationalism.
What does WHO have to say about this
The World Health Organization has already warned against cases of vaccine nationalism and vaccine hoarding owing to the 2009 H1N1 situation. Back then, Australia -- the first country to come up with a vaccine -- blocked exports of the vaccine. Wealthy countries even then entered into pre-purchase with pharmaceutical companies and ensured they were among the first ones to access the vaccines. The United States alone procured around 6 lakh dosages.
The developing countries were the last to receive the vaccine only when the cases started to recede.
The WHO has been calling out on global solidarity when it comes to the vaccine, but nationalist interests are in the way.
Take a look at how some of the nations are planning to administer the vaccine:
The United States
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted that healthcare workers and long term residents of nursing homes should be the first ones to get the vaccine. Along with that, long-term care facilities workers, and ones with the highest risk of contracting COVID-19 will be the first ones to get a vaccine.
Many Europen countries have restricted social activities for a second time, owing to the resurgence of cases. And this has led officials to ensure proper and effective distribution. Health care officials are leaning towards the idea of giving priority to residents and caregivers in nursing homes to be on the priority list.
Japan aims to distribute vaccines in line with medical risks, with the elderly at the very front of the line as declared by the Health Ministry.
Union Ministry for Health and Family Welfare is hoping to distribute about 400 to 500 million in the country by the middle of next year.
Rajesh Bhushan, Union Health Secretary, recently notified that a database to analyse various priority population groups based on who will get the vaccine, if and when it becomes available, was being formulated.
But according to earlier reports, India is hoping to draw a policy based on what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health organisation plan to do.
According to the health.gov.au people at higher risk such as elderly, people with pre-existing conditions, people with increased risk of infection would be on the priority.
The country plans to put risk groups and health workers on their top priority to receive the vaccine. Following this Chancellor Angela Merkel recently made a statement saying, "(I) think I can reveal so much that I say, that right at the front are of course nurses, doctors and people who belong to a risk group."
In China, officials want to include port workers, who provide the vital service of loading and unloading the cargo ships that power their trade.