Vaccine Nationalism!

Kanak Joyti, Contributing Correspondent,
Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

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The United Nations has repeatedly accused nationalism of providing vaccines. Several countries have also appealed to the World Trade Organization (WTO) to waive "intellectual property rights" over any discovery related to Covid-19. Developed countries do not agree to that at the moment. Western nationalism is also keen to maintain its leadership in preventing global pandemics. Critics have dubbed it 'vaccine nationalism'.

The issue of "vaccine nationalism" is gaining traction because the European Union is saying, "If we don't get the vaccine as per the agreement, we won't let the vaccine go outside this bloc." Russia, meanwhile, has long said it wants to help the country by sending a "Sputnik V" vaccine. But now there are doubts as to whether Russia will be able to supply the antidote as requested by various countries. Smaller countries in Europe, Latin America and Africa, including Slovakia and the Czech Republic, have appealed to Putin for the vaccine. The European Medicines Agency has not yet cleared Sputnik V. However, Russian officials claim that "Sputnik V will gradually conquer the whole of Europe."

Meanwhile, the South Asian island nation of Sri Lanka received good news on March 8, International Women's Day. The first 264,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca covid-vaccine arrived in Sri Lanka, known as the 'Pearl of Indian Ocean', on March 8 under the World Health Organization's (WHO) Covax project. WHO has taken this special initiative keeping in mind that the antidote reaches every country in the world, not in terms of financial compatibility. The company has also provided vaccines in some African countries.

On behalf of the World Health Organization, Sri Lanka has received the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covishield, produced by the Serum Institute of India. UNICEF has assisted in sending the vaccine to Sri Lanka. The vaccine sent to the Covax project will be given to people over the age of 60, who are on the highest risk list. It is learned that an agreement has been reached to send 14 lakh doses to Sri Lanka by May.

According to Sri Lankan authorities, the infection is more prevalent in the western provinces, including the capital Colombo. Vaccination will start from there. Earlier, however, limited doses of antidote have been given in Sri Lanka. India gave some doses of the vaccine as a gift to Sri Lanka. It vaccinated the front line workers in the Corona War.

Experts believe that in the coming days, it will be possible to supply the required number of vaccines to all the countries of the world according to the demand. The issue of nationalist extremism or European domination will not last in the end. Observers believe that 'vaccine nationalism', like other political ideologies, will be swept away by the tide of the ongoing globalization process.