Nov 23, 2020 Editorial
Kaieteur News – Since we live in a nobler world, it would be comforting if the limited amount of highly anticipated COVID-19 vaccines were spread out in the way that the West likes to preach to poorer nations. From all indications, any such hopes are non-starters, with lesser endowed nations left to manage on their own.
The world had its first piece of good news in a long time. It was that an almost surefire vaccine was close to being finalized by American pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer. No sooner that that slug of encouraging news registered than another drug frontrunner, Moderna, announced its own successful trials with a pandemic vaccine. The news is that effective rates at immunization and prevention from the pandemic ranged from a low of 90 percent to a top of about 94-95 percent. And a later development, as carried by the BBC on November 18 was that the Moderna vaccine was found just as workable on people 65 years and older. However, looked at in this early stage, there is much on which to pin hopes for being able to survive feared pandemic onslaughts.
For over seven months, there was nothing other than the precautionary measures enforced by governments and sometimes strictly observed by some citizens. It was all that the world had, while nations such as the United States, Great Britain, China, Russia, and India, among others rushed to find something, anything, that would offer some form of shield and relief in the fight against the virus. Now there is a vaccine almost on the market and in hand, that should be good news all around, except that there is a little catch; in fact, it is a big one, and several of them presently.
First, only several hundred million doses (at the most) would be available by the end of this year, with a promised 1.3 billion doses more from aggressive production rollouts in 2021. That was part of the preliminary anticipation from Pfizer. Now that Moderna has its own version of a successful vaccine, there is hope that more hundreds of millions of doses would be coming to the market. Still, it is opportune for us to share some additional information that has come to light.
Whatever the number of doses that is available – early or later – it would have to be cut in half, since for the vaccine to be effective, a two-shot dose is mandatory. As a practical matter that just wiped out the availability of the vaccine to at least a half a billion people around this time next year. Of course, this is dependent on quick official approval and quicker mass production schemes. But the bottom line is that a lot of people would be left out in the waiting line.
To cut a finer point on this, and bring this closer to home, over six billion people globally (somewhere upwards of 75 percent of the world’s population) would not be anywhere nearer to a vaccine within the foreseeable future. And this is the hard, unsparing reality with regards to those left in the medical wilderness and waiting for a vaccine: they are all from poor, undeveloped, struggling Third World societies. As the vaccine, from whichever source, becomes available, a number of rich advanced countries are already at the front of the line to collect their share of the vaccine for their populations.
The United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Canada, Japan, and Australia are all well-positioned to carry away the overwhelming bulk of whatever number of vaccines is available. They have the money, the positioning, and the clout to call the shots and get their way by cornering the market for whatever vaccine supplies are present. It looks as though most, if not all, Third World nations are on their own with only their prayers to offer some solace.
It would be nice if there was some form of distribution methodology implemented where there is a more evenhanded vision and approach. That is, where vaccine wealth is spread out more democratically, where rich and poor could have a chance to cope better and to survive. Of course, democracy covers much yardage, but medicine is not one. On this, the advanced democracies could lead the way differently.
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