Is donating vaccines not enough?
Because rich countries have secured most of the scarce supplies of Covid vaccines there are still countries that have not received a single dose - despite the Covax aid programme. While China and Russia have sold their vaccines internationally from the outset, and partly given them away, the EU has so far refused to make donations to developing countries. Commentators say that even if did, this wouldn't do much to decrease global disparities.
Be generous for our own good
Sweden's international development minister has suggested that vaccines should be given away to developing countries once risk groups have been vaccinated. Those on the right who immediately protested are mistaken, Dagens Nyheter points out:
“The question is not whether Sweden should go without vaccines, but whether the EU should help developing countries to vaccinate their populations, whether Sweden should cooperate in this, and whether we should work to make it happen quickly. The answer is yes. Not to save the rest of the world while the Swedes take a back seat, but because our fate is intertwined with everyone else's. As long as the infection is spreading in some part of the world, the virus will mutate, increasing the risk that a variant will emerge against which the vaccine is powerless. Then this mutation will spread rapidly - from one continent to another.”
Charity emphasis is out of place
The taz is irritated by the fact that it's already celebrated as a success when developing countries also receive vaccines via Covax:
“In fact this is just a tiny crumb from the giant cake. If it were really about the systematic strengthening of healthcare systems, the first priority would be technology transfer and a temporary waiver of patent protection. If we were to start from the idea of internationally binding human rights, much more emphasis would be placed on international solidarity, fairness and the duty to cooperate. Instead, current international instruments expose a traditional charitable philosophy that puts the emphasis on moral obligation and benevolence rather than on strengthening the poorer countries' right to assistance.”
China and Russia eager to fill the void
Authoritarian regimes are seizing the opportunity that the idle West is offering them, Krytyka Polityczna points out:
“The situation in which the affluent North inoculates itself while poorer nations are left to fend for themselves is creating a political vacuum which authoritarian regimes can then fill. China and Russia are already doing this. ... Neither country has been particularly successful in vaccinating its own population. ... Nevertheless, they are pursuing an aggressive vaccine diplomacy and using their vaccines as instruments for strengthening their regional influence and opening diplomatic doors that were previously closed.”