Vaccine Nationalism has emerged in the light of growing cases of corona virus. For those who believe that a vaccine for Covid-19 will end or largely contain this pandemic or who hope that new drugs will be discovered to combat its effects, there is plenty cause for concern.
What is Vaccine Nationalism?
It is a ‘my nation first’ approach for development and distribution of vaccines. The matter was raised when US declared that it would like to have priority access to vaccines for its citizens. This was followed by India and Russia.
Has it been done before?
In 2009, when the H1N1 Flu (or Swine Flu) broke out several countries entered into a pre-purchase agreement for priority access of medicines.
Why it should be avoided?
- It is against the fundamental principle of equitable distribution of medicines.
- It also counter the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3: Ensure Healthy Lives and Promote Wellbeing for all at all age.
- Countries will less resource and less bargain power will remain behind in this race and suffer more due to the virus.
What Should Be Done?
International Organisation and NGOs should intervene to ensure equitable distribution of the COVID-19 medicines. It can be done based on two criteria:
- Based on best evidence of what will stop the transmission
- Based on protection of the most vulnerable group.
Countries following ‘Vaccine Nationalism’ should understand that a nationalistic stance would only prolong this pandemic and global health crisis.