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The cost of vaccine nationalism By hoarding jabs, rich countries put the whole world at risk

Only one factory in India is allowed to produce the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. Credit: Himanshu Vyas/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Only one factory in India is allowed to produce the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. Credit: Himanshu Vyas/Hindustan Times via Getty Images


January 26, 2021   6 mins

A gargantuan yet widely unreported struggle is taking place in Geneva that could affect how quickly billions of people are vaccinated against Covid-19. It’s a struggle that will also affect how soon effective treatments will be available. Depending on how it is resolved, it could change the landscape of medical innovation permanently — and take decisions about which diseases are prioritised out of the hands of the pharmaceutical industry.

Last October, two members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), India and South Africa, proposed a waiver that would allow countries to choose not to enforce certain intellectual property (IP) rights relating to tests, treatments, equipment and vaccines for Covid-19. If approved, this would mean that for the duration of the pandemic, a country could locally manufacture a vaccine, ventilator or Covid-19 test while they were still under patent elsewhere, boosting supplies and getting these technologies to those who need them faster. At the moment, with rare exceptions, manufacturers must be licensed by the patent-holder for the duration of the patent, which is typically 20 years.

The lobbying has been intense over the last few months, but those countries that have already declared their positions on the waiver have done so along predictable lines. The poorer states of the Global South, which tend to be at the back of the queue for vaccines and everything else, have aligned themselves with India and South Africa; the wealthy Global North, where the companies holding the patents also tend to be headquartered, is broadly opposed. As Mira Johri, professor of global health at the University of Montreal, puts it: “The map of vaccine roll-outs looks a lot like the map of who is opposed to the WTO waiver.”

The pandemic has highlighted the fact that demand and supply don’t necessarily go together, in turn raising the question of whether our system for producing new medicines — driven as it is by commercial incentives — is fit for purpose. Indeed, its fragility was highlighted only last night, when it was revealed that the EU is threatening to block exports of the Belgian-produced Pfizer jab – of which the UK is expecting almost 3.5 million doses.

More broadly, it’s a simple fact that rich countries are serving themselves first – but in practising such “vaccine nationalism” they are doing the world a disservice. Leaving poorer countries without vaccine protection could trigger a number of undesirable consequences for every nation — from disrupting global supply chains, including of the vaccine itself, to potentially driving the emergence of new variants of the virus. As the WHO’s director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said earlier this month: “Vaccine nationalism hurts us all and is self-defeating.”

Since the pandemic first hit, it has become clear that well-meaning initiatives like COVAX — which brings together governments, global health organisations and the private sector to try to ensure equitable global access to Covid-19 vaccines — are not enough to counter vaccine nationalism. (Though last week’s announcement that the US will join COVAX, having stayed out under the Trump administration, could help.) Of the 7 billion vaccine doses whose advance purchase has been confirmed, more than half (4.2 billion), have gone to high-income countries, whose combined population is around 1 billion, out of a global total of nearly 8 billion. Only around 1.5 billion doses have gone to middle-income countries (combined population around 6 billion) and just 270 million doses have gone to low-income countries. COVAX, meanwhile, has secured around 1 billion doses.

The waiver proposed by India and South Africa is an attempt to achieve equitable access in a different way — by wresting control of lifesaving technologies from the patent-holders, and opening up their manufacture to generic producers sooner than those patents allow. Those who support it argue that it is, if nothing else, a wise insurance policy in a pandemic. For instance, the vaccine-producing colossus, the Serum Institute of India (SII), is the only licensed Indian supplier of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, though the country has many vaccine manufacturers.

But because India has a bad local epidemic, its government has decided that SII must meet emergency domestic needs before it ships to COVAX, which means that those shipments are likely to be delayed until the spring. And on 21 January, a fire broke out there — though SII claimed this had not affected vaccine production. “Is it sensible to have one Indian company producing so much of your vaccine?” asks Yuanqiong Hu, a senior legal and policy advisor for the international NGO MĂ©dĂ©cins Sans FrontiĂšres (MSF) in Geneva.

MSF, which is supporting the Covid-19 response in more than 70 countries, also claims that patent-holders are putting profits before lives, giving as an example South Africa’s recent difficulties in obtaining proprietary chemicals used in Covid-19 tests, partly due to patent-holders not wanting to release formulas. There is an unfortunate precedent for this. At the beginning of South Africa’s HIV/AIDS epidemic, President Nelson Mandela’s government took steps to reduce the cost of expensive new antiretroviral drugs, including issuing compulsory licences to allow local production.

Some 40 drug companies sued. The Global South, led by India, Brazil and South Africa itself, protested, and the result was the 2001 Doha “Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health”, which allowed governments to temporarily waive their obligations under the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights agreement.

India and South Africa are seeking a similar waiver now, but the pharmaceutical industry says it isn’t the answer. In a recent New York Times op-ed, the director general of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) wrote that the record speed with which Covid-19 vaccines have been produced was only possible because patents protect investment in high-risk technology, allowing developers to recoup their costs. Yes, public money had been poured into the Covid-19 vaccine effort, but that funding, Thomas Cueni wrote, “principally helped reduce risk and accelerate production timelines — the research and development were still driven by scientists in the private sector”.

We have to take his word for it, because companies do not disclose either how much they invest or how much they earn. As Johri points out: “It is difficult to know if a balance is being struck.” But it is true that for decades before Covid-19, companies were deserting the vaccine field, an indication that they at least judged the profit margins to be too slim. For Andrew Lo, an economist at MIT, a waiver would have a chilling effect on research and development investment which would make itself felt in the next pandemic in a dearth of medicines and equipment.

In his op-ed, Cueni described the South African lawsuit over HIV/AIDS drugs as a “terrible misjudgement” and claimed that the industry had learned from its mistakes. “The current situation is not parallel,” he wrote. For one thing, the IFPMA is a partner of COVAX, along with generic producers and the WHO. But while it insists that it understands its responsibility to come up with an exceptional response to the exceptional circumstances of the pandemic, the IFPMA says that no solution can come at the price of safety and quality.

Scaling up manufacturing capacity is a different order of challenge for vaccines than for most antiretroviral drugs, argues Guilherme Cintra, the association’s director of innovation policy, because vaccines are given to healthy people and the quality checks are correspondingly more stringent. If the developer loses oversight of supply and production lines too soon, quality could be compromised and — against a backdrop of high levels of vaccine hesitancy — public trust undermined at a critical juncture in the vaccine rollout.

There is one thing that everyone agrees on: the proposed waiver is a blunt instrument. Even if the TRIPS Council votes for it at its next meeting in March (rather than voting against it, or failing to reach a consensus as it did in December), like Doha it will need to be translated into national legislation before it can be implemented, and that could take months.

Its true value might lie elsewhere, however. “Sometimes things are most effective as a bargaining tactic,” says Johri. “If there is a real threat of a waiver of IP rights, companies tend to share more or to reduce prices quickly.” Though the lawsuit against South Africa was eventually dropped and Doha’s provisions were eventually watered down, UNAIDS estimates that the proportion of patients able to access antiretroviral drugs increased from 3% in 2002 to 47% in 2010, thanks largely to price reductions that wouldn’t have happened without Doha.

Doha achieved its goal indirectly, then, but Hu says the lives of millions more HIV/AIDS patients could have been saved had action been taken earlier. And there are other diseases still exacting a terrible toll, or threatening to do so again — tuberculosis and Ebola, for example — for which the same is true. “We need a long-term solution,” she says.

Even the IPFMA acknowledges that there is room for debate over the right balance of responsibility and reward between public and private sectors. Andrew Lo agrees, but for him the waiver on the table in Geneva remains a distraction. “The real issue is that drug pricing and access is not just about economics, there’s an ethical dimension as well,” he says. “If we as a society believe that everyone should be vaccinated, regardless of cost, then we should simply use government funds to acquire the rights to the technology at market prices and then vaccinate everyone for free.”

But should we even let the pharmaceutical industry decide which vaccines or treatments are developed in the first place? That’s the reason why, in general, the diseases of the rich world are better served than those of the poor world. Other ways are possible, without sacrificing incentives to innovate. A well-funded global health organisation could offer a prize for the vaccine or treatment most likely to reduce the global burden of a given disease, for example. On this model, the organisation would have some ownership of the winning product and be better placed to ensure its equitable distribution.

This pandemic has revealed two truths that sit uncomfortably together: first, a lot of medical innovation is driven by publicly funded academia (think of the Oxford in Oxford-AstraZeneca); second, governments protect one industry — pharmaceuticals — at the expense of all the others, which will take years if not decades to recover from Covid-19. These realisations indicate that it’s time for a reset. The TRIPS Council could at least set the ball rolling. But the whole of society needs to join the debate.


Laura Spinney is a British science journalist, novelist and non-fiction writer.

lfspinney

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LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago

This seems an extremely one sided argument.

Scaling up production of new vaccines is very difficult, the resources and talent to do so is finite. There’s not a huge vaccine production base sat there idle – if there was they’d use it, if only for profit.

The rest appears a confused socialist rant.
Vaccine nationalism and capitalism is what drove the rapid development in the 1st place, not least massive upfront investment. Look at the EU for what happens when multiple countries join together to deliver vaccines, a big mess, politics (French candidate) rules over common sense, and paperwork rules. The constant socialist dream is that it would share the large cake fairly (would be nice) the reality is that there ends up being no cake.

As and when these vaccines hit poorer countries the challenge will be getting people to take it. Over 140,000 still die of Measles annually, because they don’t trust vaccines, 1.5 million of TB. 10s millions died of Aids because of religious leaders and urban myths around condoms.

Andrea X
Andrea X
3 years ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

So, because of “religious leaders and urban myths” they should be left at the back of the queue?

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

I didn’t say that. I did point out that it will be more difficult in many poorer countries to even persuade people to take the vaccine.

I also point out that other low cost proven things like Measles jabs and condoms could have saved millions of lives in poor countries. They’re readily available and yet shunned.

National competition and self interest has driven rapid development of the vaccines and the rapid scaling up in production.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

When the people you are trying to help start calling the shots something goes very wrong.

Mikey Mike
Mikey Mike
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

You didn’t just write ‘because of “religious leaders and urban myths” they should be left at the back of the queue?’ did you? Do you still beat your wife?

Geoff Cooper
Geoff Cooper
3 years ago
Reply to  Mikey Mike

No, he didn’t, and no I don’t suppose he does.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago
Reply to  Mikey Mike

🙂 took me a while to understand that. Stick it in a search engine and it’s a top example of a loaded question.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

I am trying to understand what button of yours was pushed that resulted in this ridiculous response…

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

True. It happened in the Soviet Union. All share equally but no cake in the end except for the elite who oppressed the others.

Andrew Harvey
Andrew Harvey
3 years ago

This is not a serious piece of journalism. It’s ideological nonsense.

How are you doing to fund the development of new medicines, Ms. Spinney? Your magic fairy dust of socialism isn’t going to make it very far in the real world of funding research even if it provides you with a nice glow of moral superiority.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Harvey

Dear STEM people,
currently if you work really hard and help develop something that improves mankind’s life expectancy you can hope for a riches, or at least a good bonus and a fat pension.

However henceforth we have decided that you will continue to work really, really hard for mediocre wages and a pitiful pension. We expect you to continue in your current role and nuture the next generation.

Please do not consider seeking alternative, better paid and easier employment in another industry or country. You are highly intelligent, very driven and experienced people – no one will be remotely interested in employing you.

Regards

Mrs Good Intentions

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Harvey

It’s a false show of virtue when you really look into it. The west was far more benign than the revolutionary socialist countries. Still they keep up the deception.

Dave H
Dave H
3 years ago

I’m not so sure that the UK participating in “vaccine nationalism” is even an ethical issue – we’re one of the hardest hit places on the planet, it makes a lot of sense to attack the issue here, and hard.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Dave H

Imagine the poor luvvies at the BBC coping with the conundrum of our generosity “killing gran”

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

They’d probably say gran deserved it.

Lee Floyd
Lee Floyd
3 years ago

Well, she was white, and a woman, and probably voted ‘Leave’, and someone she didn’t know and was unrelated to was involved in the slave trade 200 years before Gran was born, so, yeah, f#k her.

Harvey Johnson
Harvey Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Dave H

Good points. Although, the UK is not even participating in vaccine nationalism, as far as I’m concerned. That’s exactly what Germany is doing, though. Their gov threatening to block Pfizer exports to the UK because a private company that happens to be based here isn’t giving them exactly what they want is the absolute definition of vaccine nationalism.

They can’t go down a legal route, because the contract states in black and white that they haven’t got a leg to stand on, so they’re throwing their toys out of the pram.

The UK has led the way in vaccine internationalism. Them, the USA, Canada, and India are world leaders in ensuring those countries with less procurement ability get better access to the vaccine. £540 million invested in the COVAX scheme since September.

All those who are soundbiting headline-seeking fools like Desmond Swayne as some sort of evidence for the UK’s so-called ‘nationalism’ in this respect is either suffering from a bad case of confirmation bias, has an agenda, or is completely and utterly blinkered to their own detriment.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

Now there is concern about the poor countries? Where was this hand-wringing when shutdowns around the world threw sand in the gears of supply chains and displaced millions from their jobs and all the rest?

Globally, 130m people are in extreme poverty and around 11 million children (according to unicef) face malnutrition from the disruption in economic activity. And that’s before factoring in the additional 1.4m tuberculosis deaths predicted for last year.

A well-funded global health organisation could offer a prize for the vaccine or treatment most likely to reduce the global burden of a given disease, for example.
And it could also offer wholly misleading information, like the early claim that Covid could not be transmitted among humans, or how the WHO covered for China. This blind loyalty to “global” organizations as synonyms for righteous and well-meaning people is not supported by the actions of such bodies.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Most of the funding for the constellation of “well-funded…global organizations” goes to useless, feather-bedding bureaucrats, more expert at working the system and insinuating themselves into unassailable positions, rather than paying for anything that actually helps anyone.

Michelle Johnston
Michelle Johnston
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Beautifully put. Whether one approves of the interventions pursued in the last ten months the fact is the poor, the young and poor countries will suffer the most from such policies and it will not be about the physical health of those groups, because neither in the main have elderly or the type of unhealthy populations which are the ideal target of the Virus it will be about lost educational, developmental and economic opportunities.

In years to come when we compare what has been destroyed and set back against what has been saved it will not look pretty.

Graeme Laws
Graeme Laws
3 years ago

Utopian claptrap, however well intentioned. The suggestion that decisions about pharmaceutical development should be vested in a global bureaucracy, which would also secure fairness of distribution, is risible. Who would decide who would be in charge? How would they decide on what should be researched? How would they avoid the Security Council problem where anything of importance goes down the pan with a veto? How would the scientists know what skills to develop for the longer term? Does anyone seriously believe that every country in the world would meekly submit to whatever this global body decided was fair?

Nick Whitehouse
Nick Whitehouse
3 years ago

Where does this insane Socialist clap trap come from?

We have just had an example from the EU, that it takes longer for an entity with 27 countries to make a decision. Because they were late ordering they are now complaining that it is unfair that the people who ordered first should receive their supply first.
Imagine what would happen if we had to rely on the WHO, or some other international body (made up of 160 countries) had to decide? I doubt if any vaccine would have been ordered at all!

Secondly, there seems to be a believe that Governments are better at making a decisions on new ideas than a host of pharmaceutical companies (think France). It is the very fact that there is more than one company trying to make the vaccine, that has produced the results we all want. Without making a profit from previously successful drugs the pharmaceutical companies would not exist.

So Laura, your ideas of a global health authority deciding on which vaccine to produce, would slow down the likelihood of a vaccine altogether.

So to put your ideas in the emotive terms you like, how many people in the UK would you like to kill, by slowing down the possibility of a vaccine happening?

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago

Well Globalists Try anything from Bidens Recent ”Mail in Postal Fraud Win” to EU,UN,WHO ,Climate Kontrol loons, to further their One World fantasies….EU will disintegrate in next two years..

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago

Whilst I understand and am against vaccine nationalism expressed by the developing world, it has to be said that the death and infection rate percentage wise is far higher in the developed world than in the developing countries. One just has to look at these rates on a world map to see this. Britain has the highest death rate percentage wise in the world which is also a country which is donating 3.5 billion for vaccines to the developing world. One has to ask who is going to put millions into vaccine research where there is no profit. It appears that we have to live by our work. It is very commendable to give everything away but our own families must come first in reaping the rewards of our work.

GA Woolley
GA Woolley
3 years ago

Equitable distribution? The whole of Africa has reported fewer deaths than in the UK, only 6 in Eritrea, and 63 in South Sudan, for instance. How do you define ‘equitable’?

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  GA Woolley

Does anyone know why South Africa is faring so much worse than other African countries? No other African countries are in the top 20 for fatality rates. Almost all the worst-hit countries are in Europe or in the Americas.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Kreff

Don’t know the answer but expect that it is because South Africa is comparatively rich and people will have longer life expectancies. If Covid is particularly dangerous for old people, presumably you are a lot safer if the average age of the population is low.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

That makes sense, yes. But countries like Peru and Brazil are also having terrible Covid outcomes, and I’m not sure they qualify as particularly rich or have particularly old populations in the South American context.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Kreff

Yeah I noticed that. The countries with the highest abortion rates and equal marriage also.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Kreff

Ease of Transmission,more overcrowded a Country worse it Copes With pandemic,..South Korea being an exception..

Andrew McCoull
Andrew McCoull
3 years ago
Reply to  Robin Lambert

Low obesity rates there?

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew McCoull

Yes. And A track &trace system Via CC,Bankcard transactions…We may protests ,as State Can See your Purchases ,so I dont think it’d succeed here?

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  Robin Lambert

There are lots of hugely overcrowded cities all over Africa, though: Cairo, Lagos…

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Kreff

More travel into and out of South Africa than other African countries. That also explains Europe and the Americas. The virus goes where people want to go. Not much travel to South Sudan.

Jeff Mason
Jeff Mason
3 years ago

The issue is not so simple as ignoring patents. It might help for this pandemic but would be devastating for the next as companies would choose to opt out on vaccine production altogether. No one wants to invest billions on a high risk operation while knowing if they are successful, someone who risked nothing will reap the benefit. A more workable solution would be wider licensed production vice just stealing the IP. The companies would see a return on their massive investment and countries would get their needed vaccines. Liability is another issue. Someone always has a reaction to any vaccine and someone always ends up suing. The vaccine developers need a shield for vaccines produced by third parties they did not select. Some will suggest turning over vaccine development to governments. Good luck. If you think any bureaucracy could have pulled off this vaccine development, you haven’t studied your history.

Marian Otrebski
Marian Otrebski
3 years ago

“…

South Africa’s recent difficulties in obtaining proprietary chemicals
used in Covid-19 tests, partly due to patent-holders not wanting to
release formulas. There is an unfortunate precedent for this. At the
beginning of South Africa’s HIV/AIDS epidemic, President Nelson
Mandela’s government took steps to reduce the cost of expensive new
antiretroviral drugs, including issuing compulsory licences to allow
local production.”

I must sadly state, this is only part of the complex situation in South Africa. As far as HIV/Aids is concerned costs were not the main issue. The same applies to the chemicals mentioned above and now vaccines. One may blame “big-pharma” but an investigation into actions of the government would produce interesting ( damning one may say) results.

Regards,

Mark H
Mark H
3 years ago

What you’ve said is true. In the early 2000s Thabo Mbeki’s government pursued a policy of active AIDS denial and doctors had to fight incredibly hard to get funding for treatments as simple & effective as Neviraprene which is use to prevent moth-to-child transmission of HIV when a child is born. Neviraprene was finally approved in 2002 or 2003.

I have no recollection of the earlier Mandela government approving any ARVs, let alone forcing compulsory licenses. At the time our doctor friends were up in arms; a favourite joke of theirs was that the name of Dr Zuma (Minister of Health) was an acronym for “zero understanding of medical affairs”.

I will try to add some links to Zapiro cartoons of the time.

Mark H
Mark H
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark H

From November 2009: https://www.zapiro.com/0911
And this week: https://www.zapiro.com/2101

Marian Otrebski
Marian Otrebski
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark H

You may add the Virodene saga to all of that.

Regards,

M Spahn
M Spahn
3 years ago

There is a strata of elites that hate the idea of nationhood and national sovereignty, and it is no wonder they find it galling that a nation would prioritize the well-being of its own citizens over the well-being of foreigners.

Reading this article, you would think that the West created the Covid pandemic, then lucked out when vaccines fell from heaven into our hands, and then greedily decided to horde the whole stash. In fact China gave the world this virus, and the West came up with the cure. Which we will generously share, subsidized at our own expense, after we’ve taken care of our own.

“Vaccine nationalism hurts us all and is self-defeating.”

Nonsense. That is only true if by “all” you mean the world in aggregate. Every dose that gets shipped overseas is a potential life lost domestically, at least until everyone is vaccinated. Yes, it is in my interest broadly that the economy of Nigeria not fall apart. But it is more in my interest that I get vaccinated in a timely fashion.

Stephen Tye
Stephen Tye
3 years ago

I have an issue with this article’s subject matter.

India is lobbying to have patent protection removed, so ‘vaccine nationalism’ can be avoided, and yet because India has a bad local epidemic, its government has decided that SII must meet emergency domestic needs before it ships to COVAX.

In other words it is OK for India to practice ‘vaccine nationalism’, but not OK for the countries who nurture and frequently fund the organisations who can actually produce the vaccines.

I just love the hypocrisy.

Lee Floyd
Lee Floyd
3 years ago
Reply to  Stephen Tye

The author is a bit dim, I’m afraid

Andrew Crisp
Andrew Crisp
3 years ago

The threat to a nation is that they WILL get this “vaccine”. It does NOT come under any definition of “vaccine” that the medical industry would previously have used. It does not confer immunity, does not prevent transmission and does not end lockdown according to the manufacturers and our government. So what is it for? The conventional flu has disappeared, according to government statistics, do you believe that?
A virus will kill those already in decline, mostly those who are aged. I have survived 68 years without a flu jab and when I become weakened enough with the body’s decline the flu or similar virus will help end it. No vaccination can prevent that.

Athena Jones
Athena Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Crisp

This genetic experiment is not a vaccine and may destroy the immune function and health of the vaccinated permanently.

wise words on your count and many of us at a similar age, agree.

Andrew D
Andrew D
3 years ago

How many people would have been jabbed by now if the WHO was in charge of vaccination?

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

I think all the priority groups would be done by now, the top WHO people and their families.

Martin Davis
Martin Davis
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

I can imagine that since they are predominantly an advisory and training agency they would advocate devolution to appropriate level public health organisations, and aid those which were struggling. In other words, it’s down to the individual death agencies of the constituent nations.

Sean L
Sean L
3 years ago

Why would anyone in his right mind submit to a ‘vaccine’ for an ailment which poses no serious threat to the otherwise healthy ? Even for over 70s the survival rate is 96.4%. And mRNA isn’t a vaccine at all in the Edward Jenner sense that we were taught in school but a new technology untested and thereby in breach of Nuremberg Code. The threat of restrictions is also a violation. Not that you’d learn that from plutocrat media, COVID’s principal sponsors.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Sean L

Submit? In Hollywood and other leftist enclaves, the status statists are stampeding to the front of the cue.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago
Reply to  Sean L

Typical reaction of someone who doesn’t feel personally threatened. You forget about 2 important things:

1) If the death rate is ‘only’ 96.4%, it means that about 300,000 will die. As more people get older (even you at some time) that number is still high. But, you say, they will die anyway. Which brings me back to the point that you don’t feel threatened.
2) If a further 300,000 survive after a real struggle they will live the rest of their lives in terrible anguish, not being able to breathe properly. Apart from the personal suffering this will tie up the NHS for ever.

Maybe you’ll get killed in your car but that won’t be important because 10,000 people get killed in car accidents every year.

Joseph Berger
Joseph Berger
3 years ago

as someone has already pointed out, at its root this is a socialist whine.
The drive to produce a vaccine so rapidly has not come from “academia” but from private enterprise, which is why the leading companies producing successful vaccines have been either partly or fully American-owned.

Anything connected to the WHO at the moment should be avoided, that organization has been corrupted by the chinese and nothing that comes from there is to be trusted.

Any organization that President Trump withdrew from was corrupt or useless, ranging from the Iran deal, the Paris accord, funding UNRWA, and others, and if the new biden administration re-enters any of them just to show it is different from and rejects the work of the Trump administration, it will be to the detriment of the US and the rest of the world.

The behaviour of the EU trying to cover up their miserable failure is truly sickening.
Any Brit who does not breathe a sigh of relief that the UK is out of it, is lacking a basic quality of gratitude and appreciation.

Peter KE
Peter KE
3 years ago

Poor article, left wing socialist nonsense. If we want companies to develop products (vaccine) they need to be motivated and their intellectual property protected.

Tino Joseph
Tino Joseph
3 years ago

Surely it makes sense to factor in the demographics – the rich countries have a much older populous and so arguably have a greater need.

Mark H
Mark H
3 years ago

“At the beginning of South Africa’s HIV/AIDS epidemic, President Nelson Mandela’s government took steps to reduce the cost of expensive new antiretroviral drugs”

This is factually incorrect. Government did not take ARVs seriously until the mid-2000s, long after Mandela’s time. He was a great president but only came round to supporting ARVs after retiring.

Gerry Fruin
Gerry Fruin
3 years ago

So it’s all a con? The pharma devil’s are making billions? Well one thought occurs to me is that if a vaccine keeps the older people alive for longer the pharma companies will make a hell of a lot more given the amount of meds some of us need.

Athena Jones
Athena Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Gerry Fruin

don’t need the meds just get fed the meds.

Athena Jones
Athena Jones
3 years ago

OR many are being protected from the vaccine experiment and if it does great harm, we still have a pool to preserve humanity.

A risky vaccine for a virus which is NO THREAT to the vast majority. world gone mad.

AND THIS IS NOT CORRECT –

which will take years if not decades to recover from Covid-19.

it should say – will take years if not decades to recover from Covid-19 RESPONSES. not from the virus but the reactions to it.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Athena Jones

So don’t take it then.

Russ Littler
Russ Littler
3 years ago

“The cost of the national vaccine”…..Thousands of dead and seriously debilitated people in years to come.

David Bottomley
David Bottomley
3 years ago

Setting aside the various comments about big Pharma, world organisations etc etc, I do agree with the main point in the article I.e there is a serious need for a global discussion about how to deal with global diseases and pandemics. In many ways , the Covid pandemic was an accident waiting to happen . The world is an ‘increasingly small place’ with billions of people travelling internationally every year – on holidays , business trips etc. Never before have we made it so easy, created such conditions for diseases to spread around the world in days. Never before have there been so many people and such local crowded centres in which new diseases can take hold very very easily. There will be further pandemics and it’s quite possible that a future viral pandemic will make the Covid pandemic look like a walk in the park. The world definitely needs an agreed set of actions for addressing future pandemics . A plan of action that includes but is not restricted to vaccines and any treatments that we find. Certainly the ‘liberal , democracies’ ( freedom loving countries as Johnson so clumsily described the UK reluctance to introduce restrictions) need to come up with a far, far better plan of action. Either that or muddle along in our usual ways with yet more loss of life and appalling economic cost, growing weaker while China grows ever stronger and dominant.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago

You only have to watch the proceedings from the United Nations to know that a global way forward is a ‘must’.

James Andrew
James Andrew
3 years ago

What is WHO other than “A well-funded global health organisation” 6,794,371,000 USD, https://open.who.int/2020-2

Which seems to fit the profile, so why not put a bit more pressure on that organisation to be just a little bit better.

Arthur Wood
Arthur Wood
3 years ago

A little simplistic – I will avoid commenting on the EU as it it always creates black and white emotional responses in a complex grey world. If the issue is effective delivery of any vaccine in the developing world -one may want to think about how the mechanism works in delivery – the reality with Ebola is that 35% of the money went to ghost medical entities – or that a recent Zeneca report validated in part by Lancet . noted that they had succeeded in dropping unit cost of drugs from over 15 to 1 – with out any significant take up – it is not just a supply issue but one where we should look very closely at supply and demand and create effective feedback loops from the consumers them selves. Secondly think how the delivery mechanisms for COVID can be moved from their silos and be repurposed when the COVID crisis is over.. Malaria , TB and many other diseases in the developing world kill far more….

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
3 years ago

At risk of what?

Pauline Rosslee
Pauline Rosslee
3 years ago

Yes we have the inevitable squabbles within the EU – and shortages in some/many countries. Typical for Brussels to mess up!
BUT as far as allowing patents to be ignored/ cribbed etc that’s a risky business and reduces incentives for future development work for all types of progress.

I have some knowledge of South Africa and the AIDS crisis – having been in a research environment in SA in the 70s when it appeared in SA. It was mostly heterosexual AIDS and brought into SA by mine workers from central Africa and spread mostly amongst the African population as a result of promiscuity among African mine workers. (some would say understandably as they lacked a family environment).

However, the African leadership in SA for years lacked judgement and any moral principles. For example the ANC SA president Zuma claimed a shower would eradicate any risk after unprotected sex! As a seedy sexual encounter with a AIDS positive woman got out into the press. President Zuma with over 22 (official) children and 4 or 5 wives, plus other affairs set an appalling example.

AND they failed to treat the population for some years. With huge AIDS death rates. Nothing to do with costs – the ANC and Zuma, with his famous profligacy managed to bankrupt most SA provinces and came close to this with the central government.

Donations or freebies are not always appreciated and corruption and graft in the foreign aid industry has often been shown to be a real waste of taxpayer’s money..

How is it right that hard work, and huge investments in every way should be done for nothing? A socialist system does not lead to improvements for humanity Quite the opposite.

Neil Bradley
Neil Bradley
3 years ago

What a load of cobblers! The vaccines exists because companies and Governments invested in them. Of course their people are going to get first bite. This should be yet another wakeup call for the so called South. Most are countries rich in resources, it is just corruption and poor education systems and business environments that are preventing them from taking a rightful place in the world consistent with their unexploited wealth. It is hard to say, but countries get what they deserve.

Jim le Messurier
Jim le Messurier
3 years ago

by wresting control of lifesaving technologies from the patent-holders, and opening up their manufacture to generic producers sooner than those patents allow.
Lots of things could be classed as ‘lifesaving’. What else would be confiscated by ‘wresting control from the patent-holders’. Start going down that route and see where it gets you. This should be obvious.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
3 years ago

Vaccinating 90% of the population of one country will have much more impact than vaccinating 1% of the global population.
When the oxygen masks drop down from the overhead panel in an aircraft, the instructions say “Put your mask on before helping others”. There’s a reason for that.

Vilde Chaye
Vilde Chaye
3 years ago

RE: As the WHO’s director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said earlier this month: “Vaccine nationalism hurts us all and is self-defeating.”

You know what’s even more self-defeating? What Tedros and the WHO did, when they toadied (and continued to toady) up to China and thereby allowed a pandemic to spread across the globe.

Anne
Anne
3 years ago

The global mortality of covid is of the order of 0.6 of one thousandth of one per cent. These vaccines are unlicensed and still in phase 3 clinical trials. There is no urgency, if we take high amp PCR tests out of the equation.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
3 years ago

I thought Science was just White Man Lies?

Daedalus
Daedalus
3 years ago

If we can only just produce enough vaccines at the moment to vaccinate 10% of our population in 6 weeks; where are the additional jabs coming from for the rest of the world? Makes more sense too me to get the UK done ASAP, get us back up and running so that we can then spend the time and effort upping our production and getting it out to those other countries. We can use our foreign aid budget.

Deb Grant
Deb Grant
3 years ago

What’s wrong with this statement?
“we should simply use government funds to acquire the rights to the technology at market prices and then vaccinate everyone for free.”
What’s wrong is that there is no “free” Government spending, it’s taxpayers’ money.
The whole issue of borders is one of who pays for what and what do we expect in return.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
3 years ago

Don’t worry. It will be like the flu vaccine which studies show has virtually no benefit in preventing flu. The aim is to provide an endless stream of income for big pharma.

John Alexander
John Alexander
3 years ago

You don’t need a vaccine for something that has less than 0.04% change if killing you. You have more cahnce of bieng killed by a stupid policeman. Yoiu have more chance of bieng killed in an aeropane accident and you never ask for a parachute.

There is only one reason this is happening. The vaccine industry is creating a panic to dive up the sales for one reason. The persuit of profit.

robert scheetz
robert scheetz
3 years ago

It’s well known in US that (1) Big Pharma budgets significantly more for marketing & sales than R & D; and (2) the cost of training scientists and clinicians and doing research is overwhelmingly borne by public universities and with oversight, coordination, planning, etc., and funding from the NIH, CDC, etc., and with a plethora of charitable funds specifically targeted for cancer, heart disease, MS, …. In short the industry is a hybrid where the dominant cost gene is vastly public. The real problem is that the government is wholly owned by the Private-for-Profit, patent laws being the perfect illustration.

Nick Whitehouse
Nick Whitehouse
3 years ago
Reply to  robert scheetz

You miss some important points. The whole idea of spending on a sales force is to sell the products that R & D has produced. If a company cannot sell their products, then they will have no money for R & D.

Also, the Government has much more money to spend on the things you mention because it can tax. I am sure that if you gave the pharmaceutical companies the right of taxation they would happily spend it on Universities!

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  robert scheetz

Marketing and sales of what? Oh, yeah; the drugs that R&D produced. Someone makes the doughnuts and someone sells the doughnuts. Without one, the other is useless, and seriously, suggested that education – often funded through loans that the individual is responsible for – constitutes public support of R&D is quite a stretch.