Three ways the United States can promote equity in ending the global COVID-19 pandemic – global issues


On April 15, 2021, the United States will join the Global Vaccine Alliance (GAVI) and co-host the launch of the COVAX Advance Market Commitment Investment Opportunity.
Continuing inequality in vaccination against COVID-19 means virus mutations and the emergence of new variants that may be resistant to currently available vaccines. Credit: United Nations.
  • Opinion By Ifeanyi Nsofor (Abuja)
  • Inter Press service

The goal of the event is to raise more money to ensure that at least 1.8 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines are available to 92 low-income countries. The United States recently donated $ 4 billion to COVAX and this new leadership role is very commendable.

However, even if all commitments were fulfilled since launch, only 20% of people in poor countries would be vaccinated. Moreover, it may take until late 2022 to vaccinate this population.

Continuing inequality in vaccination against COVID-19 means virus mutations and the emergence of new variants that may be resistant to currently available vaccines. Therefore, it is in the interest of every nation (rich and poor) that everyone everywhere has a fair chance to be vaccinated simultaneously.

Bill Gates alluded to this in his recent book Gates notes: “The more the virus that causes COVID-19 has spread in the world, the more opportunities there will be for it to develop – and to develop new ways to fight our defenses against it. If we do not get the vaccine in every corner of the planet, we will have to live with the possibility of the emergence of a strain much worse than the virus. “.

Simply, to end this pandemic, we must vaccinate everyone, everywhere.

With the release of the COVAX investment commitment nearing, these are three ways the United States in particular can ensure more justice in ending the COVID-19 pandemic globally:

First, support the WTO push for COVID-19 vaccine patent exemptions temporarily so that vaccines can be manufactured locally in Africa and other parts of Asia. Recently, the American Chamber of Commerce Opposed The World Trade Organization is calling for support for a temporary waiver of intellectual property rights to speed up production of a coronavirus vaccine in poor countries.

If this continues, it may take until late 2023 or even early 2024 to inoculate all of the eligible across Africa. President Joe Biden should intervene to allow these waivers so that a vaccine can be produced simultaneously in rich and poor countries.

Domestic vaccine production in African countries will also reduce logistical costs and wait times in transporting vaccines from the West to African countries. Egypt Preclinical trials are concluded and clinical trials of a vaccine will soon begin locally.

Likewise, Johnson and Johnson Pharmaceutical has it It pledged 400 million Their single-dose vaccine for African Vaccine Delivery Working Group. Most of the supplies will be manufactured locally by Aspen Pharma in South Africa. The United States should support more domestic production across African countries to accelerate vaccination against COVID-19 on the continent.

Second, preventing capital flight through corruption from poor countries. Africa loses an estimated $ 50 billion annually due to illicit financial flows. This theft amounted to $ 800 billion stolen from 1970 to 2008. This money was stolen via electronic transfers.

Sure, banks and other agencies are aware of the theft. The United States can work with banks and national anti-corruption agencies to stop money theft. We don’t have to wait for the money to be stolen and then go through all the legal and regulatory bottlenecks to get the money back home.

For example, nobody really knows how much ex-Nigerian military dictator General Abacha stole the country. Twenty-three years after his death, the money he stole is still being returned to the country.

The United States should also impose sanctions on banks, bank directors, politicians, and civil servants who help with these thefts. With $ 50 billion a year, Africa will not depend on the wealthier western countries to vaccinate its people. In fact, at $ 10 a dose, 50 billion would buy 5 billion doses of the Johnson and Johnson Covid-19 vaccine – more than enough to vaccinate all Africans three times.

Third, ending the epidemic isn’t just about vaccines. Treatments, personal protective equipment and other goods are essential. Unfortunately, the United States put them in stock at the start of the pandemic in 2020. These panels have to stop.

The African Union Medical Supplies Platform (AMSPHeaded by billionaire Zimbabwean, Strive Masiyiwa has successfully created a platform to connect manufacturers with African countries especially for pre-ordering COVID-19 goods, including vaccines. AMSP is an innovative idea to make Africa self-sufficient in the COVID-19 response. This should be supported by the United States

All souls are created equal. The United States government should deepen its global health leadership by ensuring that the COVAX release is an opportunity to demonstrate the sanctity of spirits everywhere. It is the fair thing that must be done to end this global pandemic for everyone.

Doctor. Ifeanyi McWilliams Nsofor He is a graduate of the Liverpool College of Tropical Medicine. He is a Senior Fellow in New Voices at the Aspen Institute and a Senior Fellow of the Atlantic Health Equality at George Washington University. Ifeanyi is Director of Policy and Advocacy at Nigeria Health Watch.

© Inter Press Service (2021) – All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service


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