Wednesday, August 4

Getting vaccinated is rich

Let’s start with the good news, which is not known anymore. Vaccines against COVID-19 have been developed with a speed that has not only surprised the layman, that is, the vast majority of citizens. The usual average is 9 years and this time it took less than one. There was advanced scientific work and obvious political and economic haste. So, with the permission of the current variants and those that will come out, it is time to congratulate yourself on your success.

Now come the awkward questions and answers. Who is getting vaccinated? The Director of Innovation at the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona and senior advisor at CIDOB, Joan Bigorra, has published a very interesting job in which he analyzes the critical points of vaccination, ranging from patents, production and universal access to treatments. A first headline is that 80% of the approximately 1.1 billion doses of vaccine produced had been administered as of May in middle- and high-income countries. That there is no equity in the field of health is not new but they had told us that this time they would try to do better. The rich countries could clothe it with solidarity, even if in reality it responded to a pure selfish instinct. The strains will appear if the protection is not sufficient at a global level.

The only hope is that the promised production plants will begin to be built on continents like Africa. Proponents of patent release insist that, even so, it would be necessary to temporarily suspend licenses if the immunity percentages required in those countries are to be achieved as well. The doctor in Immunology Adelaida Sarukhan delves into the strategy to follow in another article. This ISGlobal researcher warns that vaccines must be better distributed, now and also in the future. “In the longer term, and to control future outbreaks of this or other emerging viruses, it will be necessary to promote the transfer of these advanced technologies (messenger RNA, viral vectors, viral nanoparticles) and start up production plants in middle-income and middle-income countries. low to guarantee its own vaccine production, “he warns.

To speak of technology transfer is to place oneself in the field of geopolitics, that which seems so far away but that affects us almost without realizing it on a day-to-day basis. In science we also swim or sink together, as Sarukhan concludes. Much has been written about how we should get out of this and it will not be here where we will discover that if what it was about was not to repeat previous mistakes, we still have a lot of room for improvement.

Allow the provocation: we should be talking about decrease and not about growing as badly as before. We had agreed that now it was not only to distribute but to redistribute better. Yes, decrease so that at least those who come behind do not look silly when another Jeff Bezos thanks them. After talking so much about the care society, what are we doing? Deny the workers of the subcontractors that they can receive a sick leave in conditions when they suffer persistent Covid. It is not only that they are essential but that they deserve respect. It is theorized and has a name. Is the call ethics of care, but at the moment it does not go beyond the phase of academic study.

For trying not to stay and, even if only as a gesture of goodwill, we are going to avoid jokes about steaks. And to commit ourselves that in debates such as that of the expansion of the Barcelona airport, it is not intended to leave as ignorant those who claim the protection of a single territory and remember that there are alternatives to destroying a space whose environmental value is more assumed in Brussels than here.

Just after having made so much mistakes, it is time to try another path and that of the eight r’s of the virtuous circle that summarizes Serge latouche, the French economist who has best raised the need for a long time to stop, does not seem like a bad beginning. Here I leave them as a final summary: Reevaluate, Reconceptualize, Restructure, Relocate, Redistribute, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

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