How antibody nationalism is hampering endeavors to end COVID-19 pandemic

How antibody nationalism is hampering endeavors to end COVID-19 pandemic


  • Post By : Kumar Jeetendra

  • Source: Agencies

  • Date: 02 Aug,2020

The term of vaccine nationalism has entered our lexicon during H1N1 pandemic 2009, but has been used. But vaccine nationalism, has emerged as a real danger because of our ability to collectively finish the COVID-19 pandemic.

So what’s vaccine nationalism?

Vaccine nationalism involves countries procuring doses of vaccine for its own citizens or residents through pre-purchase agreements with vaccine manufacturers and some impose restrictions on their manufacturers in order to serve their country first.

This leaves out middle and lower income countries who do not have monetary muscle or vaccine manufacturing capacities.

We watched vaccine nationalism perform a decade ago too, during the H1N1 pandemic.

“Some countries say vaccine produced within my country, are only for my citizens. There are not many countries that make the vaccine. A lot of people will be denied vaccines, and everyone will lose. As long as this virus is not under control in every single nation, it will not be under management,” Peter Piot, renowned virologist and Manager of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, in a recent summit held by ICMR.

Piot is a special adviser to Ursula von der Leyen, President of European Commission about the response to COVID-19.

European Commission has raised 10 billion euros ($11.2 billion) for the development and deployment of vaccines, including supporting countries worst hit by COVID-19 pandemic.

Piot says COVID-19 is not only a scientific struggle or public health issue, but will probably be one of the biggest geo-political issues of our time.

“Since the states that have first access to vaccines, protect their population from this pandemic will have a major benefit, economically, politically and strategically. So that is why it’s so important that people have the dialogue,” Piot says.

Equitable distribution

Vaccine nationalism is particularly dangerous at one time, World Health Organisation (WHO) that is supposed to give leadership is facing issues with questions raised over its first handling of COVID-19 pandemic and following move by the US – the largest donor to lower funding and exit the multilateral organisation.

Despite these challenges, there were effort to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines.

Seventy-five nations have submitted expressions of interest to secure their populations and those of other nations through joining the COVAX Facility, a mechanism designed to ensure rapid, reasonable and equitable access to COVID-19 offenses globally.

COVAX is co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and WHO, operating in partnership with developing and developed country vaccine manufacturers.

The 75 countries, which would fund the vaccines from their own fund budgets, partner with up to 90 lower-income nations that could be supported through voluntary contributions to Gavi’s COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC).

Collectively, this group of up to 165 countries represents over 60% of the planet’s population. Among the group are representatives from every continent and over half of the world’s G20 economies.

The goal of COVAX is by the end of 2021 to provide two billion doses of safe, effective vaccines. These vaccines are sent equally to all participating countries, proportional to their populations, originally prioritising healthcare workers then expanding to pay 20% of the populace of participating nations. Further doses are then going to be made available based on state demand, vulnerability and COVID-19 hazard.

The COVAX Facility may also keep a buffer of dosages for diplomatic and emergency use, including coping with acute outbreaks before they spiral out of control.

The COVAX Center creates an integral part of the COVAX pillar (COVAX) of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, a international collaboration to accelerate the growth, creation, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, therapies, and vaccines.

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