- There is a lack of equity in vaccination for Covid19. Only 2.1% of Africans had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of May 2021.
- This can be called as “Vaccination Aparthied” where there is vaccination gap between advanced economies and developing countries.
NEED TO FILL VACCINATION GAP
- The pace of vaccination around the world is slow. At the current pace it is impossible to vaccinate the whole world before 2023.
- Hence, wide vaccination is required to check multiplication of variants and to end the pandemic.
Bring economies back on track:
- Wide vaccination is needed to lift the restrictions that are holding back our economies and freedoms.
- Pandemic is affecting developed countries more due to lack of social mechanisms and economic policy levers.
- Further holding of the economic activities in these countries will reverse the trend of declining poverty and global inequalities in recent decades.
Fuel global tension:
- Restricted economic freedom will also result in global tension.
Hence ending “Vaccination aparthied” is need of hour and global multilateral action is needed to increase the production of vaccines and accelerate the roll-out worldwide. European Union and India’s “Vaccine Maitri” are some of the efforts taken in this direction. Other nations should also come forward.
EFFORTS BY EUROPEAN UNION AGAINST PANDEMIC
- To enhance vaccination across the globe, the EU is participating in closely coordinated multilateral action.
- The EU has welcomed the $50 billion plan proposed by the International Monetary Fund in order to be able to vaccinate 40% of the world population in 2021 and 60% by mid-2022.
- The EU has rejected both the provision of vaccines to political goals and “vaccine nationalism” that has been witnessed across the world.
- It has been exporting large volumes of vaccines and contributing substantially to the vaccines roll-out in low-income countries.
- According to WHO, around 40% of the doses used globally so far are produced by European Union.
- “Team Europe”, an initiative of European Union, is being used for donating vaccines to neighbours particularly for Western Balkans region.
- Around one-third of all COVAX doses delivered so far have been financed by the EU.
The steps taken by European Union are praiseworthy, however not sufficient for ending the vaccination gap.
- Need of the hour is to end this vaccination gap. Doing so is both morally right and in everyone’s interest.
- Countries which have required knowledge and means should increase their production capacities for export to meet both domestic needs and the needs of other nations.
- Restrictive measures that affect vaccine supply chains should be avoided.
- Also there is a need for facilitating the transfer of knowledge and technology so that vaccine production is possible in more countries.
- Facilitation can be relaxed by Voluntary licensing to ensure transfer of technology and know-how.
- If Voluntary licensing turns out to be insufficient, the possibility of compulsory licensing should be explored within the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement and the 2001 Doha Declaration.