Many African countries bear the same fate as that of Haiti — still awaiting their first COVID vaccine to reach them (“11 million people, but no vaccine in sight,” April 11, Gulf Today).
Vaccine nationalism is going to be a bigger killer than the virus, should the rich countries insist on hoarding vaccines. Millions of doses are lying in the US unused and yet the Biden administration is turning a Nelson’s eye to request made by countries for the life-saving drug.
India though is caught in a strange situation. The country which has been giting and selling tens of millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses abroad is itself running short of the prized shots. The shorfall also means that over 60 poorer countries, mainly in Africa will also suffer, because India will cut short its supply to the COVAX programme, an initiative backedbywhoforequitabledistributionofvaccines.
Will it then be a case of ‘if the virus doesn’t get you, vaccine nationalism will’.
Ved R By email