Vaccine Nationalism is the priority given by nation States to ensure the supply of vaccines for their own country prior to helping others. Recently countries like Germany, UK, France, USA have pre-booked vaccines from conglomerates. This has increased the fear of high prices of vaccine for other countries.
This may also make it very difficult for developing and underdeveloped countries and various island nations to procure vaccines for their population. Countries having low bargaining power will suffer more. Such practices by developed countries would increase the prices and make it inaffordable and inaccessible. Vaccine discrimination should focus on ethical dilemmas. Surely, it is right to focus on one’s own country first but not at the cost of others.
Prioritising can be a tragic strategy but it must be balance by ethical justification. The answer to this anomaly can be global collaboration. So that no one is left behind in any country at any place set of guidelines must be placed by collaborating with doctors and administrators globally. A standard operating procedure would be a great remedy.
Global collaboration for vaccine is being done under the COVAX program backed by WHO. This program aims at procuriy at least 2 billion vaccine doses to be given to low and middle income countries. Priority to give vaccines should be given on certain pre-decided principles. Principles like equality, preferring those who are helping others, giving preference to the worst of and focusing on utility based outcomes.
Principles of the UN charter focus on equality and will never agree to the discrimination done by developed countries. Vaccine procurement and distribution should not be affected by race, ethnicity, religion, colour among others. The constitution of India in article 15 elaborates that there shall be no discrimination based on race, religion, caste, sex, place of birth.
Vaccine nationalism has another agenda in international politics. Developed countries like USA, Germany, UK have the ability and resources to procure your vaccines before other countries, this will lead to increase the cost of vaccines for other countries. Which will in turn ask for help to these so-called developed countries who will extend a helping hand to low and middle-income countries. Therefore, increasing tilt of power towards them.
In the decades of 1960s and 70s, India had faced the worst ever foodgrain shortages ever. Since then the green Revolution has flourished, and now India is a surplus producer of many food grain, fruits, milk among others. The same way the vaccine research methodology in India is bound to improve due to the the human resources available in India. The day is not far when we will be a surplus vaccine producing economy in the world. India has faced such crunches in the past and we have overcome them. In the future too we are set to overcome these obstacles with grit and determination.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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