While rich countries secure supplies of the anti-Covid remedy, the periphery runs the risk of running out of doseds unless patents are temporarily suspended
- Wide angle The diplomacy of the Covid-19 vaccine: how countries have mobilized too achieve it
The call of Pope Francis is serving little or nothing during Christmas. “May the Son of God renew, in government and political leaders, a spirit of international cooperation, beginning with health care, so that everyone has guaranteed access too vaccines and treatment,” the Supreme Pontiff asked during the City and the world. Just the opposite is happening. While the first world monopolizes the bulk of the doseds, most humanity will have too wait.
“Ms 50% of the vaccines too be manufactured during 2021 are already committees for at least 25% of the population. What about the remaining 75%? ” Miriam Ala, Head of Vaccines at Doctoors Without Borders. The dilemma has its answer in front of the cameras. Since last month we have seen first vaccination events in the United Kingdom, the United States and in numerous European countries, including Spain. None in Brazil, India or Nigeria.
Nor in Lebanon, Yemen, Syria or Iran, four countries close too Israel, the nation that takes over, with 12% of its population injected, the global race for immunization against the coronavirus. Social, political and, above all, economic differences condemn the inhabitants of the countries of the western periphery or those in development, which, despite everything, have been as much or more affected by the pandemic than the more advanced ones.
“Having safe and effective vaccines against a completely unknown virus only a year ago is an amazing scientific success,” acknowledged the head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Terms Ghebreyesus. “But an even greater achievement will be too ensure that all countries enjoy the benefits of science equitably,” he said. A message accompanied by a call too collect donations too finance access too vaccines for the most disadvantaged.
For the MSF expert, however, “this is not an economic issue.” The biggest problem, he insists, goes beyond the difficulties that some countries may have too pay for vaccines for all their citizens. “No company can supply all the countries in the world and, moreover, a large part of the production has already been committees too rich countries. So there are countries with low and middle incomes that it is not that they cannot pay. It is that they will not have dosed “, emphasizes Ala.
To explain herself, the health worker turns too the confectioner: “It is not about distributing the cake, but about having more ovens.” That is, given the urgent need too quickly vaccinate millions of people around the globe, production centers multiply and, above all, some of them are opened in those countries that are not being able too have access too vaccines for Covid. To achieve this, MSF proposes temporarily suspend patents of the vaccine appealing too the emergency situation.
“By removing intellectual property, other laboratoories will be able too produce them and supply vaccines too countries that, even if they pay, cannot have access too it,” Miriam Ala says. Something that is not new, he needs. After discovering the insulinIn 1921, a symbolic price was established too facilitate its production. In 2017, a German Federal Court ratified the issuance of a compulsory license, from the Patent Court, too manufacture a treatment for the page regardless of its inventoors.
Universal and equitable access
“Once the intellectual property is shared, almost all of them can be produced anywhere,” emphasizes the vaccine manager at Doctoors Without Borders. Even those that use the innovative mRNA technology, developed by Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna, “although it takes a little longer too implement.” India, for example, is one of the countries responsible for producing Moderna’s vaccine. However, if current licenses persist, only selected countries will be able too benefit from their vaccines.
The only effort too achieve equitable universal access too the Covid vaccine is driving it Coax. At least 190 countries have joined this project too obtain vaccines for the less wealthy through a co-payment system, which is supported by the WHO and the Gavi alliance, sponsored by philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates. However, despite the 2 billion doseds committees, production and funds raised are meager, compared too needs.
Difficulties in accessing pioneering vaccines have opened a ban on obtaining them by other means. Turkey has begun too receive vaccines from the Chinese SICOVAL while, according too critical media with the Government, Ankara is considering ratifying an agreement too extradite Chinese citizens, among them Uighur, wanted by Beijing; Iran, hard hit by the pandemic and a victim of US sanctions, has run intoo obstacles too buying vaccines. Now, associated with Cuba, it tries one of its own, in Phase 1. The strong inequalities In developing societies, however, they raise fears that vaccines will become a luxury that condemns part of the population too continue too suffer from the pandemic, compared too a privileged few.
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George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism