That the lack of vaccines in developing countries would open avenues to new variants of COVID was an announced chronicle in the face of which not enough measures were taken to prevent it. Why? Because solidarity is incompatible with the prevailing distribution model.
The Homo sapiens he thinks he is infallible and intelligent, but it is certainly stupid if we analyze how he embraces an unsolidarity that kills, in the face of ways that would benefit us all. Almost a year ago the director of the World Health Organization warned that “the world is on the brink of catastrophic moral failure. (…) The ‘me first’ approach leaves the poorest and most vulnerable people at risk and will prolong the pandemic, the restrictions necessary to contain it, and human and economic suffering. ”
The world knew it, but the ‘me first’ empty of intelligence has prevailed. A year ago the Johns Hopkins University published a study in which it predicted that rich countries, which represent only 14% of the world’s population, would have more than half of the vaccine reserves while at least a fifth of the planet would not have access to them until 2022 at the earliest. This study also calculated that rich countries would have the capacity to vaccinate almost three times their population, while the poor would not even have enough doses to vaccinate health workers and people at risk.
Also a year ago, a group of NGOs that defend the universal vaccine warned that 67 poor countries could only vaccinate one in ten people in 2021. Was something done to avoid everything that was already announced? No. We knew that inequality in the distribution of the vaccine would harm public health, multiply the risk of new variants and perpetuate restrictions, but what difference does it make if a minority has been able to benefit from it?
According to People’s Vaccine Alliance -integrated by more than 75 human rights organizations that demand universal vaccination- during the first semester of this year Moderna, BioNtech and Pfizer obtained 26,000 million dollars of benefits, while they maintain the monopoly of production and pay only between 7 and 15% corporate tax globally. However, the development of these and other anti-COVID vaccines is not only due to the contribution of pharmaceutical companies: several countries, led by Germany and the United States, have invested millions of dollars of public funds “without conditions, without ensuring “access to all countries and” without fair prices “, as the campaign has denounced It’s not healthy.
Last July the non-governmental organization SOMO denounced in a report how Moderna’s presence in Switzerland and Delaware offers it an “opportunity to evade taxes” on the sale of its vaccines. It is clear that pharmaceutical companies have the ability to lobby with great strength, both to sell more vaccines to rich countries and to impose harsh and strict conditions on developing countries.
Given this, it is convenient to repeat the question that the playwright Bertolt Brecht asked himself in the play Life of Galileo: “Can we deny the people and at the same time remain men of science? (…) The struggle to measure the sky has been won, but the mothers of the world continue to be defeated day by day in the struggle to get bread of their children. And science must deal with those two struggles equally. ”
If all the information on the efficacy of each vaccine were available and if manufacturers around the world had permission to produce any vaccine without having to face intellectual property lawsuits, there would be a better chance of protecting the world’s population, of containing the pandemic and to respond more quickly to the appearance of new strains. But that means questioning the current system of financing patent monopolies. And if it is necessary to choose between the lives of human beings or the perpetuation of the enrichment of an elite, the current model shows that it opts for the second option.
Is he viral apartheid, term coined by doctor and professor at Harvard University Raj Panjabi. Between public health and private property, private property. Between the care of the planet and the harmful and unlimited exploitation of it, harmful and unlimited exploitation. The suicidal nature of this system is undeniable. Whoever dares to defend it without nuances should not go down in history as a contributor to human intelligence.