How Will Poorer Countries Get A Fair Shot? – The Organization for World PeaceNovember 29, 2020
In the fight against COVID-19, the world is putting an immense amount of resources into developing an effective vaccine. Some scientists and pharmaceutical companies are saying that hopefully we will have a successful vaccine by the beginning of 2021. The problem with such a newly developed vaccine is that there will not be enough for everyone, as it will take time to make and distribute. Wealthier countries have already claimed access to the first doses, leaving poorer countries behind. Moreover, medical colonialism still affects Africa and its distrust towards trials, because of past and recent forceful experiments. However, this complicates the situation even further, as data on clinical trials are needed in all regions, including Africa, to establish a secure vaccine.
According to the World Health Organization, over 48 potential COVID-19 vaccines are being tested in human clinical trials. However, before the doses have been proven to work, the world is facing another barrier. Countries and organizations such as the United States, United Kingdom, and European Union are claiming their rights to receive doses, a complicated struggle that Oxfam senior policy adviser Mohga Kamal-Yanni calls the “lion’s share.” In research performed by Duke University it was found that countries have already secured deals of purchases for 3.8 billion doses, with 5 billion more being under negotiation or preserved. Not all of these investigational immunizations will be accepted, as several of them will most likely fail the clinical trials. As of now, the United States, followed by India and European Union have confirmed most potential doses.
The United States has claimed access to the vaccine for a long time, pointing out that they have contributed the largest amount of money to research. The America First Vaccine Act was introduced in September by Republican Senator Thom Tillis, an act suggesting that any exports of the vaccine should be prohibited until the demand of U.S. companies has been reached. According to a report given to Al Jazeera, Tillis said in a statement that “once that vaccine is developed, Americans should get the vaccine first, before it goes to other countries … ensuring that they receive a return on their investment.”
The U.S. consumer advocacy organization Public Citizen stated that the U.S. government has invested at least $11 billion to experimental investigations for a COVID-19 vaccine. The claim to secure doses for Americans first can be related to the idea of vaccine nationalism, which is not a new phenomenon. In 2009 during the Swine Flu pandemic, high-income countries who managed to produce a successful vaccine refused to export doses to low-income countries until domestic needs were reached.
Furthermore, a different aspect of COVID-19 relates to a recent history of medical colonialism, where trials have been executed on African populations especially. In the German colonization of Namibia during the 1800s and 1900s,…