The New York Times said in its editorial that at a time when the vaccination campaign against the Corona virus in several Western countries is advancing at a steady pace, it is good to recall two basic facts in the global response to the epidemic.
The first fact The Corona virus will not be invincible anywhere if it is not defeated everywhere, especially in light of the emergence of new mutated copies in many parts of the world, and epidemiologists have expected that other copies will appear while the virus continues to spread; Which poses a real challenge to the effectiveness of vaccines currently in circulation.
And the second fact That while, for example, 45 million people who are citizens of the United States – approximately 14% of the total population – have benefited from at least one dose of the vaccine, and most rich countries have started their own vaccination programs, only 7% of all low-income countries in the world She was able to vaccinate only one person until February 18th.
The newspaper asserts that this reality reflects a “big gap” described by the Director-General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, as “another building block in the wall of inequality between the world’s rich and poor.”
Fortunately – as the newspaper adds – work is now underway to reduce this gap as much as possible. Last week, a cargo plane landed in Ghana carrying 600,000 doses of vaccine developed in Britain and manufactured in India, announcing the launch of the “Covax” program. Supported by the World Health Organization, which seeks to provide at least 1.3 billion doses to 92 low and middle-income countries this year.
The New York Times considers that support for this initiative – especially by the United States – is an important matter in its national interest, and Washington should not allow such a “soft power advantage” to be exploited by its “tyrannical opponents” such as Russia and China.
Poor countries always remember who came to their aid and when, and when both Moscow and Beijing realized that there was such an opportunity in the first months of the pandemic, they took the initiative to provide medical masks and protective equipment to severely affected countries, and now in light of the increasing demand for the vaccine, they supply several countries such as Serbia, Algeria and Brazil And Egypt thousands of doses.
China has made the provision of locally manufactured vaccines a cornerstone of the “Belt and Road Initiative,” a global strategy developed by Beijing with the aim of investing in more than 70 countries and international organizations.
Although Chinese vaccine diplomacy suffers from some loopholes – according to the newspaper – especially the lack of complete transparency about the effectiveness of its vaccines, for many poor countries, Beijing’s vaccines remain better than nothing.
For its part, Russia announced that it has requests to obtain its “Sputnik V” vaccine from about 20 countries, including Argentina and the southern neighbor of the United States, Mexico, which contracted with Moscow to obtain 7.4 million doses between last February and April. / Next April.
As for India, which is among the largest producers of (similar) generic medicines in the world, it has developed its own vaccines and shipped them abroad, due to several considerations, including confronting Chinese influence.
Although India has a population of more than 1.3 billion people, New Delhi has already sent 3.2 million free doses to neighboring countries, and has contracted with a group of governments around the world to provide them with vaccines, and perhaps one of the main reasons for this trend is that India produces more vaccines. Than you need locally.
Even the UAE has donated doses of the Sinopharm vaccine made in China to countries with which Abu Dhabi has strategic or commercial interests.
The newspaper concludes by stressing that “vaccine diplomacy” unfortunately has several flaws, the most important of which is the exclusion of the poorest countries through “bilateral” or “selective” deals. However, the administration of US President Joe Biden is called to be at the forefront of this “global war” against The epidemic is for moral and logical reasons, and in the interest of its national interest as well.