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17 April, 2021 06:27:07 PM
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Vaccine nationalism: To count chickens before they hatch

According to Oxfam, two-thirds or 61 percent of the world's population will not be vaccinated before 2022 due to the over vaccination or collection of rich countries. Many have referred to such behaviour by rich countries or the agreement on vaccine as vaccine nationalism.
Majhar Mannan
Vaccine nationalism: To count chickens before they hatch

The whole world today is in a catastrophic state due to the attack of Covid-19 virus and thousands of bodies are being added to the death procession every day. The world has been battling the Covid-19 virus for over a year, and the vaccine has been discovered in this context. Ever since the invention of the vaccine, vaccine nationalism and inequality between rich and poor countries over vaccines have become more pronounced, and poorer countries are still far from vaccines. Already in every country of the world the spread of the coronavirus has risen to prominence again and there is now a new kind of tension going on all over the world. Lockdown is being given again in the country to tackle the pandemic and at the same time social distance and hygiene of the people are being strictly followed. People from various countries including India, Argentina, Colombia, France and Germany are facing lockdown. Vaccination activities around the world have been hampered by vaccine side effects and a shortage of supplies, and in the meantime the lockdown has begun anew. The need for vaccines has become essential as the spread of the Covid-19 virus has increased, but global supply is now in dire straits. The most recent outbreak of Covid-19 virus has been reported across India, with over 1 million people being infected daily. Lack of vaccine stock has also been an obstacle to the Indian government's plan to strengthen vaccination to control the infection. With a population of 130 crore only 94 million people across India have been vaccinated. In Brazil, Covid-19 virus infection has reached alarming proportions and the country's health system is in critical situation under the pressure of Covid-19 patients. The world's poorest countries are in the throes of a corona virus attack and the death toll is rising, as is the possibility of a severe food crisis. The poorest countries in the world have been the victims of vaccine nationalism and discrimination. A recent report by the World Health Organization says poor countries of the world receive less than one percent of the vaccine.  The World Health Organization says more than 87 percent vaccines have been received by high-income or middle-income countries.

Inequalities between the rich and poor countries in terms of vaccination against the Covid-19 virus have become evident, and this trend continues, which is a sign of danger. Most of the vaccines delivered so far in the world have been received by high-income countries and poor countries have received less than one percent of vaccines. So far, 70 crore doses of the vaccine have been distributed worldwide, with the lion's share being received by developed countries and high income countries.  According to the World Health Organization, one out of four people in high-income countries has been vaccinated, but one out of five hundred people in low-income countries has been vaccinated. This sheer inequality in vaccine delivery poses a new threat to poorer countries and could increase mortality rates there. The World Health Organization says immunization has begun in 194 countries out of 220 countries and territories. The vaccine has not yet reached some countries.

The World Health Organization (WHO) Secretary-General Tedros Adhanam has warned that if the vaccine nationalism is not stopped and the vaccine is not delivered fairly, poorer countries will be at greater risk and infected. The World Health Organization (WHO) has taken an initiative to ensure the supply of vaccines to poor countries, but even that is not enough for them. The World Health Organization (WHO) has set a target of supplying 200 crore doses vaccines for 190 countries this year. Although efforts have been made to ensure the same amount of immunization at the same time in 92 poor countries as in rich countries, it has not yet seen enough light.

However, it has been alleged that rich countries have bought vaccines and threatened poor countries. The opposite picture of rich countries is being observed in poor countries and waiting for the coronavirus vaccine in poor countries is not over. No one can guarantee when the people of poor countries will be vaccinated. The situation is now such that low-income countries will not be able to vaccinate more than one in 10 people of their population.

The WHO has launched the COVAX programme to ensure equal distribution of the vaccines.
Under this initiative, 3 crore 84 lakh doses vaccines have been provided to 102 countries of 6 continents in the first 100 days of this year. At that time, there was a target of supplying 10 crore doses vaccines but that target could not be met due to vaccine nationalism.

According to Oxfam, two-thirds or 61 percent of the world's population will not be vaccinated before 2022 due to the over vaccination or collection of rich countries. Many have referred to such behaviour by rich countries or the agreement on vaccine as vaccine nationalism. It is natural that rich countries will be ahead in the competition for vaccination, but what about the poor countries? From the fear of this unequal competition between rich and poor countries, WHO has launched the COVAX facility and underdeveloped countries will come under COVAX facilities. Even before this, the poorest countries were not vaccinated against many epidemics and rich countries collected almost the vaccines that time. Many countries got it later but then the vaccine was no longer needed.

Underdeveloped and developing countries are eagerly waiting for COVAX facility. WHO is trying to secure 2 billion dosage vaccination by 2021. Of this, 1 billion will be allocated to people in 92 low-income countries. These countries are home to more half of the world's population.  Under the COVAX facility, there are plans to guarantee vaccination for at-risk 20 percent of the population in each country. According to WHO, 156 countries have been included in this COVAX facility. However, there are also concerns about how successful this facility will be. The two largest producer countries of vaccine, the USA and China are not associated with it. So, it will be difficult to provide equality. Procurement and distribution of vaccines can also complicate the low-income countries. WHO needs to take swift and effective action now to provide vaccine to poor countries. While rich countries can collect vaccines as they have enough capacity, the WHO is the guardian of poor countries in this regard. Therefore, vaccines of WHO should be given to the poor countries as early as possible. There is currently no substitute for the World Health Organization to play the biggest role in eradicating vaccine nationalism.

The writer is Assistant Professor, B A F Shaheen College Kurmitola, Dhaka Cantonment.
 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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