WHO warns against Vaccine Nationalism that threatens global plan to distribute Covid-19 vaccines fairly


Team Udayavani, Aug 27, 2020, 12:24 PM IST

WHO Director General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned against ‘vaccine nationalism’ and said that it will only help the virus and could also lead to a spike in prices of the vaccine.

As several companies across the world are researching Covid-19 vaccine, countries  scramble to get priority access to the most promising candidates.

Vaccine nationalism occurs when a country manages to secure doses of vaccine for its own citizens or residents before they are made available in other countries.

The United States government has entered into million-dollar deal with at least six big pharmaceutical companies. This means that if those companies are successful in developing a vaccine, they would be obligated to provide the agreed supplies to the United States before anyone else.

Experts claim that first doses of vaccine must be given to health care workers around the world, people at a higher risk of severe disease, those in areas where the disease is spreading rapidly, and finally, the rest of us.

But as the United States and Europe are placing advance orders for hundreds of millions of doses of successful vaccines, the poorer parts of the world will suffer.

According to Medical Xpress, Earlier, during the early stages of the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic, some of the wealthiest countries entered into pre-purchase agreements with several pharmaceutical companies working on H1N1 vaccines. The U.S. alone negotiated and obtained the right to buy 600,000 doses.

The developed countries offered to donate vaccine doses to poorer economies only when the pandemic began to unwind and demand for vaccine dropped.

If the same thing happens with the Covid-19 vaccine, the consequences will likely be disproportionately severe for poorer or otherwise vulnerable and marginalized populations.

However, the World Health Organization and other international organizations have set up a system to accelerate and equitably distribute vaccines, the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility

Also, WHO should coordinate negotiations ahead of the next pandemic to produce a framework for equitable access to vaccines during public health crisis.

 

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