Vaccine nationalism

Vaccine nationalism has become alarming, as politicians have criticized the previous US President Donald Trump for his "America First" doctrine.

Chủ nghĩa dân tộc vắc-xin

More than 55% of Israelis have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. Photo: Timesofisrael

When I wrote this article, 4.77 million Israelis had received at least 1 dose of the Covid-19 vaccine; 3.44 million of them had completed second injections. More than 55% of Israel's population have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

But not many countries are as lucky as Israel. This is a special case as Israel has a small population and enormous financial capacity. Meanwhile, many poor African countries may only be able to start vaccinating next year.

Wealthy countries, accounting for only 16% of the world's population, have bought up to 60% of the worldwide supply of vaccines. Some have even ordered a volume of vaccine that is much higher than their population. Canada bought vaccines for 453.1% of its population, the UK 270.3%, Australia 225.1%, and the US 182.8%.

At the same time, most developing countries are waiting to receive the vaccine distributed by the COVAX Facility. COVAX is part of an unprecedented global effort to provide vaccines for at least 20% of the population in each participating country by 2021 to protect those most at risk from severe illness from COVID-19 and save lives. It is co-led by Gavi the Vaccine Alliance, WHO, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and works in partnership with UNICEF, the PAHO Revolving Fund, the World Bank, civil society organizations, manufacturers, and others.

Immune oasis

Chủ nghĩa dân tộc vắc-xin

Covid-19 vaccination for a volunteer in the state of Florida, USA.

Even the new US President Joe Biden, who declared that America was back to engage with the rest of the world, has focused solely on vaccinating the American people, reinforcing an "oasis of immunity" for themselves.

A recent study by the Economist Intelligence Unit estimates that the US, UK, Israel and the European Union (EU) will achieve "wide coverage of immunization" by the end of 2021, while developing countries will not be so lucky. It also said that 84 of the world's poorest countries will not receive enough vaccines to achieve immunity until 2024.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, General Director of the World Health Organization (WHO), in an article published in the Foreign Policy magazine in early February, wrote: "Vaccine nationalism is not just morally indefensible. It is epidemiologically self-defeating and clinically counterproductive.”

In fact, weak cooperation across countries is a major hurdle in the worldwide rollout of vaccinations at a scale that can contain and end the pandemic.

Vaccine fairness is just a slogan

Vaccine fairness has become a slogan but it should have been a tool to protect people around the world, in both rich and poor countries, and urban and rural areas, enhancing the international community's ability to block Covid-19.

Unfortunately, this is not the case today. The COVAX Facility is struggling to buy enough vaccines for 20% of the population of low-income countries by the end of 2021, a not so strenuous target.

Chủ nghĩa dân tộc vắc-xin

Volunteers wait to be tested at a vaccine testing facility in Johannesburg, South Africa. Photo: AP

The prospect of vaccine inequality is clear and visible. While children in many countries are forced to stay at home, and many children out of school have become child laborers and child brides, Israel has begun to set up corridors for its citizens to travel to some countries after receiving vaccinations.

So-called "vaccine passports" will become important to economic, educational, and social development. Inequality in access to vaccines, besides the pandemic in general, will wreak havoc on many poor countries and their citizens.

 

In a report released last October, the World Bank predicted that a recession caused by the Covid-19 pandemic could push about 150 million people into extreme poverty between 2020 and 2021. The UN migration network estimated that, in 2019, remittances sent by 164 million migrants working in wealthy countries to their relatives at home - in poorer regions – helped about 800 million people with a total value of $554 billion.

In 2020, this figure is expected to drop by a fifth, the largest reduction in history. Europe and Central Asia are expected to suffer a nearly 28% drop in wages sent home from other countries, while it is 23% for sub-Saharan Africa, 22% for South Asia, and more than 19% for the Middle East, North Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.

At the end of February, WHO announced that globally, the number of Covid-19 vaccinations surpassed the number of reported infections. However, it said that more than three-quarters of those vaccinations were in just 10 countries that account for nearly 60% of global GDP. About 130 countries, home to 2.5 billion people, had yet to take a single dose of the vaccine as of Feb. 5.

As a result, this vaccine nationalism will lead to widespread lack of access to vaccines in many countries, even by 2023.

Vicious circle

Chủ nghĩa dân tộc vắc-xin

Some researchers around the world have called the current vaccine access a new form of racism.

If immunization continues in the current uncooperative manner, it will take a long time to reach the level when the pandemic is under control. Scientists have pointed to another gloomy scenario, in which new variants develop and spread to people who may have been immune to the previous virus. And the new variants may be even more devastating.

The world could fall into a vicious cycle again.

Not only do developing countries suffer the consequences of not being properly vaccinated, a study by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) conducted last spring indicated that if countries continue to pursue the uncooperative approach to vaccine distribution, the global GDP loss could reach $9.2 trillion.

A more optimistic scenario shows that the damage could be reduced to $4.4 trillion, of which developed economies will suffer 53%, or about $4.8 trillion or $2.4 trillion in the optimistic scenario.

The ICC study also recommends that investment sources in equitable vaccine access should be seen as a major investment opportunity, and developed countries have a clear economic incentive to speed up vaccine distribution on the basis of global coordination, minimizing the possibility of the negative impact of supply-demand shocks in third world countries, which can lead to great economic losses in developed countries.

Some researchers around the world have even called the current vaccine access a new form of racism (and I agree), characterized by priority access to vaccines for certain countries and for certain people. Much of this priority is based on wealth and geography, creating a global supply crisis.

In a global pandemic, that means no one is safe and worldwide immunity is at stake.

Pham Quang Vinh

The dangers of vaccine nationalism

The dangers of vaccine nationalism

Success in developing a vaccine is one thing, but giving it to everyone in need is a completely different matter.

Vaccine 'passport' could help save tourism

Vaccine 'passport' could help save tourism

Large-scale Covid-19 vaccinations are expected to help restore travelers’ confidence, loosen travel restrictions and normalize tourism activities.

 
 

Other News

.
Bach Mai Hospital: staffers’ departure is the price of reshuffling
Bach Mai Hospital: staffers’ departure is the price of reshuffling
FEATUREicon  19/04/2021 

Bach Mai Hospital Director Nguyen Quang Tuan has affirmed that the departure of 28 doctors will not affect the hospital's operations.

When Party documents mention the concept of 'national governance’
When Party documents mention the concept of 'national governance’
FEATUREicon  19/04/2021 

One of the new features of the documents of the 13th National Party Congress is the emergence of the concept of "national governance".

Buyers of phony ‘mutant orchids' from disreputable sellers lose huge sums of money
Buyers of phony ‘mutant orchids' from disreputable sellers lose huge sums of money
FEATUREicon  18/04/2021 

What are some of the most popular investment channels in Vietnam? Real estate, securities, cryptocurrency and ... mutant orchids.

Special lessons given at border markers to local students
Special lessons given at border markers to local students
FEATUREicon  18/04/2021 

At 5 am, the fog still covered the mountain surrounding the Huong Lap Frontier Post. But the teacher, a border officer, was already correctly dressed in uniform, reviewing the lesson plan in a preparation for his teaching period in the field.

Investors in land, securities see high profits as prices rise
Investors in land, securities see high profits as prices rise
FEATUREicon  19/04/2021 

Realtors and securities investors have been pocketing big money in recent months.

The twins who built a sharing platform for young people
The twins who built a sharing platform for young people
FEATUREicon  17/04/2021 

Having experienced a difficult period of time finding directions for the future, a pair of twin sisters decided to establish an online platform to advise and troubleshoot problems for young people who are struggling to find goals for life.

Race for digital transformation: now or never
Race for digital transformation: now or never
FEATUREicon  16/04/2021 

The rules of the game in the future will be "quick fish eats slow fish". Even “giants,” without timely performing digital transformation, may lose ground to “rookies” that are young and agile in the 4.0 technological revolution.

Bach Mai Hospital faces mass resignation of staff
Bach Mai Hospital faces mass resignation of staff
FEATUREicon  16/04/2021 

More than 200 workers at Hanoi-based Bach Mai Hospital, the country’s leading hospital, have resigned from their posts. Some practitioners said they had left because of unreasonable changes in management.

Apartments sales drop, but developers still setting high prices
Apartments sales drop, but developers still setting high prices
FEATUREicon  17/04/2021 

No longer seen as a profitable investment segment, apartments are not selling well as investors have shifted to buy land instead.

Fintechs to partner with telecom carriers to offer Mobile Money
Fintechs to partner with telecom carriers to offer Mobile Money
FEATUREicon  16/04/2021 

The pilot program on providing the Mobile Money service is expected to increase non-cash transactions, especially in remote areas. To improve users' experience, fintechs should work with network operators, experts say.

Digital academy takes shape
Digital academy takes shape
FEATUREicon  17/04/2021 

The initial ecosystem for a digital school is taking shape at the Posts and Telecommunications Institute of Technology (PTIT).

Vietnam aims to be world's top exporter of quality rice
Vietnam aims to be world's top exporter of quality rice
FEATUREicon  19/04/2021 

In August 2020, when the Vietnam - EU Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) took effect, Trung An High-tech Agriculture JSC exported about 150 tons of rice to the European Union. 

Four questions sparked Quang Ninh's awakening 10 years ago
Four questions sparked Quang Ninh's awakening 10 years ago
FEATUREicon  15/04/2021 

A decade ago, the northern province of Quang Ninh faced bottlenecks in infrastructure development. 

From failed college candidate to physics professor in the US
From failed college candidate to physics professor in the US
FEATUREicon  16/04/2021 

Dr. Nguyen Dong Hai spoke with VietNamNet about his path from a student who failed the university entrance exam in Vietnam to a professor of physics at Tennessee Wesleyan University in the US and his thoughts on pedagogical student training.

Female scientist with PhD in immunology pursues research on rare diseases
Female scientist with PhD in immunology pursues research on rare diseases
FEATUREicon  14/04/2021 

Tran Nguyen Kim Thi is a postdoc majoring in AI usage in medicine at the Huge Kaul Precision Medicine Institute at the University of Alabama in Birmingham (UAB) in the US.

Newly-elected NA Chair faces high expectations to fulfill President Ho Chi Minh's wishes
Newly-elected NA Chair faces high expectations to fulfill President Ho Chi Minh's wishes
FEATUREicon  14/04/2021 

When delivering the closing speech at the NA session, NA Chair Vuong Dinh Hue expressed his belief that newly elected deputies will uphold the spirit of dynamism and creativity, and will dare to think, dare to do, and dare to take responsibility.

What’s behind the 'land fever' phenomenon?
What’s behind the 'land fever' phenomenon?
FEATUREicon  14/04/2021 

The market often cools down when periods of "land fever" end, but then new higher price levels reoccur later.

Student overcomes adversity, joins national maths team
Student overcomes adversity, joins national maths team
FEATUREicon  18/04/2021 

Having parents with severe illnesses who could not pay to send their kids to tutoring did not lessen Thong’s eagerness to learn and achieve.

Vietnam to raise tax on cars with high emissions
Vietnam to raise tax on cars with high emissions
FEATUREicon  13/04/2021 

Experts have suggested imposing high taxes on vehicles and encouraging the use of electric cars.

Government of new term to pursue reform, taking action
Government of new term to pursue reform, taking action
FEATUREicon  13/04/2021 

Former Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has left an indelible mark on the socio-economic development of the country. The newly-elected Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh will continue that strong reform thinking.

 
 
 
Leave your comment on an article

OR QUICK LOGIN