Vaccination: arguments for global fairness

While the EU is at loggerheads with Astrazeneca over commitments and delivery quantities, countries with fewer financial resources, especially those in the southern hemisphere, are facing far greater problems when it comes to securing sufficient vaccine doses. How can greater vaccination equality be achieved?

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Proto Thema (GR) /

Production rights instead of free patents

Proto Thema rejects a proposal for a solution that often comes up:

“Let's not kid ourselves. In a free economy, no one can force the pharmaceutical giants to give away their patents for free. Whether we like it or not, all the involved parties are motivated by profit. The only thing the powerful can do is to make that profit on a humane level and find ways to work together to ensure that more vaccine goes to low-income countries. As has already been suggested by various parties, companies could grant production rights to these countries for a certain period of time just to get them through the period of shortages.”

Večernji list (HR) /

Impulsive hoarding is not the solution

As long as some countries have no access to vaccines Covid-19 won't be defeated, Večernji list comments:

“This completely Darwinian time dominated by greed is a direct result of the imbalances between supply and demand, but also of vaccines being used for political ends. ... Boris Johnson's political survival depends on vaccination, and Hungary is also making domestic calculations based on its vaccine strategy. However, victory is not just round the corner, because unless populations worldwide are vaccinated some areas will become petri dishes for new mutations. ... It's illusory to expect a global problem to be solved within national borders. As long as solidarity and understanding don't take the place of impulsive hoarding, the danger will be omnipresent.”

Dagens Nyheter (SE) /

Don't give autocrats a chance

It is vital for the rich West that the populations of poor countries are vaccinated as well, Dagens Nyheter comments:

“The larger those parts of the world in which the virus is allowed to rage freely are, the greater the risk of new mutations becomes. ... And last but not least, the geopolitical dimension must be taken into account. After the Second World War the US took responsibility for rebuilding important parts of Western Europe and East Asia. That created goodwill towards Washington and confidence in capitalism and democracy. If the EU and US fail to take responsibility now, Beijing and Moscow will use every gap in vaccine diplomacy to create dependencies and boost the image of their authoritarian systems.”

Die Presse (AT) /

Suspend patent rights!

Marcus Bachmann of Doctors Without Borders calls in Die Presse for a departure from market principles:

“It's because of opaque contracts with the pharmaceutical industry on the one hand and its patents on the other that we're now dependent on just a handful of companies: companies that make their decisions according to market rather than medical priorities. ... To fight the coronavirus the rights protecting intellectual property, for example patents, drugs, vaccines and tests, must be suspended at least until the end of the pandemic. Especially since these vaccines were massively subsidised with taxpayers' money. If this were done, mass production of generic vaccines could meet the immense demand - not just in Europe but around the world.”

The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

Help the poor, cultivate the nation's image

London must take advantage of this tremendous opportunity, The Daily Telegraph writes:

“The UK should seize the opportunity to become the world's largest national producer of vaccines, and its largest donor to those who cannot act as quickly or efficiently. It would be a noble and efficient use of taxpayer money, with enormous benefits - saving countless lives, aiding international development, and building the image of the UK abroad not as an addendum to Europe or the US, but as an innovative power which acts for the benefit of all. ... Perhaps some of our vaccines going to Europe would smooth over a diplomatic spat with Brussels - but others need them more.”