MEXICO CITY – Over the past few weeks, UK and US have watched with relief as their citizens begin to vaccinate against COVID-19 – but across much of Latin America, Africa and much of Asia, the news was met with resignation and anger.
For many people in developing countries, there is still no end of the tunnel light.
These countries are having difficulty getting access to a long-awaited vaccine after wealthy nations stockpiled enough doses to be injected into their populations multiple times.
Martha Delgado, the Mexican official in charge of negotiating the country’s vaccine contracts, told BuzzFeed News: “International solidarity needs to grow. She warned that the global pandemic will not end until everyone has access to vaccines. She wants America and other Western countries to think outside of their own borders and their immediate needs. “No one will be safe until everyone is vaccinated,” she said.
Canada, for example, has reserved at least four times the amount it needs to vaccinate its 38 million citizens. The UK has secured enough to cover almost three times its population. The European Union and the US can vaccinate most of their residents twice with the number of doses they have stockpiled. Meanwhile, almost a quarter of the global population According to BMJ, a medical journal will not have access to vaccines until at least 2022.
To date, some of the poorer countries most hit hard by the virus have only pre-orders to cover a small portion of their population. Peru, where severe oxygen shortages caused the country to explode earlier this year, and El Salvador, where more than 1 in 4 fell below the poverty line, pre-ordered doses for less than half their population, according to the New York Times analysis.
Countries that have pre-orders but have no political or economic influence will have to wait longer than great powers. Mexico, according to its government that has contracted with various pharmaceutical companies to inject 116 million of its 126 million citizens against COVID-19, said it will not complete the operation until at least. March 2022.
After Delgado told the BBC that “at least in Mexico we have the money to buy vaccines,” said Xavier Tello, a health policy expert in Mexico City, retweeted a post linked to the interview said, “I can have the money to buy myself a Tesla; But if someone else made a payment, I may have to be on a waiting list. “
Many people in Mexico say that the country cannot wait any longer. The country has the fourth highest death toll, in theory, behind only the US, Brazil and India, but the official figure – 118,598 – could be much lower than the actual number of casualties. There were at least 60,000 other people “redundancy“The highest number of deaths among these will be in 2020.
And Mexico’s health care workers say they’re being stretched to the limit with persistent PPE deficiency, exhaustion – and grief. More than 2,250 doctors, nurses and medical staff have died, according to the government number. With a population almost three times that of Mexico, some 1,500 medical staff died in America.
Who received how many vaccines, and when, opened an unprecedented moral debate. Should governments give priority to their citizens? Should the first vaccine be allocated to a certain percentage of each country’s population? Should initial doses be given to people at risk worldwide before they can be distributed to people without comorbidities?
Arthur Caplan, head of the Medical Ethics Department at NYU School of Medicine, said he somewhat defended the first school of thought – vaccine nationalists. Affordable countries should take care of themselves, “plus a little insurance”, in case the current vaccines only provide immunity for a limited time and need to Repeated injections in the near future.
But when it comes to making a more ethical decision, Caplan says that once a state has vaccinated health workers, the elderly and people with pre-existing conditions, it should move on to vaccination. to the same populations in other countries prior to vaccination of young and young people. – fast growing population.
COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on the world to the extent that it is fairly not part of the decision-making when it comes to distributing vaccines between countries.
“Rich countries are in such a bad state that they don’t think about it,” Caplan told BuzzFeed News.
While the second option – allocating vaccines to an equal amount per country – seems fairer, it probably won’t be as effective. Ignacio Mastroleo, an Argentinian expert in medical ethics and ethics a part of Ethics of the World Health Organization and the team of experts COVID-19, noting that giving Peru and Poland the same amount of vaccine, for example, would not take into account that the virus killed 11,600 people in This country is more numerous than in this country (their population is 32 million and 38 million, respectively).
That option is “insensitive to the needs of the people”, Mastroleo said, adding that the poverty rate in Peru is 10 times higher than that in Poland.
Mastroleo says that if there is a silver lining it is, unlike during the 2009 swine flu pandemic, there are international organizations’ efforts to support equal access to vaccines during this time. One of those mechanisms, co-founded by WHO and called COVAX, is a global vaccine group that will have access to poorer countries. But the program will only cover less than 20% of the population of 92 low- and middle-income countries.
Unequal access to vaccines can occur not only between countries, but also between countries, leaving millions of people vulnerable to defenses against viruses. On Monday, the President of Colombia, Iván Duque, made an announcement interview with Blu Radio that there are no plans to vaccinate undocumented people, saying that if the country does, it could create a “stampede” of Colombian immigrants. There are currently 1.7 million Venezuelans living in Colombia, and about 55% of these are stateless. Most of them have fled from the economic and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.
According to Delgado, the bailout for millions of people is likely not until the end of 2021 or even later, when countries stock up on excess vaccines or sell them off or give them to poorer states, according to Delgado.
“This is the wrong strategy,” says Delgado. Relief will come to the world in general sooner when people stop “looking for their own salvation”.