Home > Uncategorized > The production and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines has exposed and intensified global inequality.

The production and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines has exposed and intensified global inequality.

from Jayati Ghosh 

This led to the rapid development of multiple Covid-19 vaccine candidates and even more rapid regulatory approval to several of them. Typically, vaccines take several years to be developed and approved, partly because of extended clinical trials to check for all possible responses. But some Covid-19 vaccine candidates were given official approval in Russia and China even before the essential Phase III trials were completed. Even in the US and Europe, regulatory processes were accelerated, sweeping aside the usual demands for complete data and without checking for possible side effects.

Despite such proactive policy, the production and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines has exposed and intensified global inequality. Three features stand out: blatant vaccine grab by rich countries; protection of patent rights by governments in advanced countries, which prevents wider production of vaccines; and the use of vaccine distribution to promote both nationalism and diplomatic ‘soft power’.

The great vaccine grab

It seems obvious that a pandemic can be overcome only when it is overcome everywhere. The delayed vaccination of people across the world increases the possibility of virus mutation, reducing the ability to control the pandemic even in rich countries that have bagged vaccines. Prolonged fear of infection, because of inadequate vaccination, affects economic prospects, inhibiting and delaying global economic recovery. These risks are so great that rich countries would still benefit even if they decided to pay on their own for vaccinating all of the world’s population.

An ‘every-country-for-itself’ approach is irrational and even counterproductive. Yet that is exactly what has happened.

https://www.theindiaforum.in/article/political-economy-covid-19-vaccines

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