The race for vaccination against covid-19 has deepened the immense gulf that separates world powers from developing countries. The hopeful news that the rapid and effective development of vaccines meant for humanity has been quickly overshadowed by the difficulties of most of the population to access drugs, in what seems more like an effort by the so-called first world to build a new wall of separation with the South, this time built on the argument of health distancing. Did the vaccine become the new tutelage instrument?
Donald Trump was accused of being a fascist by progressive sectors around the globe due to his plans to build a new separation wall between the United States and Mexico. There are already several walls that divide that border by fractions, there is also the wall that divides Israel from Palestine, and there are many more walls. The powers that be have used their propaganda apparatus to be averse to the politics of the walls; However, it is from those same places that apartheid policies much less obvious, but even more dangerous, emerge more discreetly. For example, the wall that is being built right now as a result of the difficulties imposed on the countries of the South to achieve fair access to vaccines against covid-19, either for temporary or structural reasons.
According to WHO figures from the end of February (cited by Turkey's Anadolu agency), still 92 low- and middle-income countries had not received any of the immunizing drugs, while only potencies occupy the ranking of countries with the highest percentage of vaccination. and with more vaccines in stock. In total, only two percent of the world's population has been vaccinated and guess in which hemisphere the huge percentage of people included within that select group is located.
Added to this present are the political and legislative efforts to forge a future that perpetuates that inequality, ultimately turning it into a new system of domination, no longer because of weapons and not because of ideology, but through a much more cruel and visceral: health. Let's take a look at this reality from the statistics in full swing.
Brief World Map of Vaccination
"Two thirds of the vaccines have been assigned to the 50 most powerful countries and 0,1% to the 50 poorest countries," warned Diego Tipping, president of the Argentine Red Cross, in statements last week reproduced by the Spanish newspaper El País.
Just to show one of the photographs that illustrates this inequality: in the United States almost one in four citizens has already received the vaccine and, said by Joe Biden himself, their stock of doses outnumbers their population, that is, they have more vaccines they really need. In Latin America, on the other hand, to date 37 million doses have been received that must be distributed among 630 million people, that is, there are six doses per XNUMX inhabitants (at a rate of two doses per person).
The figures of the WHO indicate that from the beginning of the global vaccination process and until today, the unbeatable country is Israel, with almost 82 percent of its population already with at least one of the two immunization doses and almost 50 with both. punctures administered.
Israel has been put as a global model for its apparently admirable actions at the forefront of the pandemic, but its efficiency has a very simple reason: they are the best payers. While the European Union pays 12 euros per vaccine, Israel pays Pfizer 23 euros, so the commitment of the pharmaceutical company with the Hebrew country is total and without delay. In addition, as a bonus, Israel offers the multinational free detailed data on its vaccination process, which Pfizer uses for investigative purposes of the behavior of its product. It is a win-win relationship that has resulted in Israel being, like the US, another of the countries with drug surpluses.
In second place in the world vaccination ranking there is a complete outsider: the Seychelles islands, in the Indian Ocean. The archipelago —which depends practically 62,4 percent on tourism, so it urgently needs a total normalization of the world— has already managed to immunize 19,8 percent of its inhabitants (XNUMX percent with the two doses). Its advantage is its limited population of barely XNUMX inhabitants, a manageable number. In addition, it has received supplies through two routes: the Chinese drug Sinopharm and the British one from Astra Zeneca.
The next country that follows in the list of people more vaccinated per capita is the United Kingdom with 33,3% percent of its population with at least one dose. The English have a wide advantage in Europe, which as a bloc is advancing at very uneven steps. In fact, historically poorer Eastern European countries like the Czech Republic or Romania depend on donations. However, a note published last week by the BBC summarizes the situation on the continent and says that all governments in the region are redoubling their efforts during the weeks that run to advance immunization at this time of year and thus guarantee no "Lose the summer", that is, the economic income from tourism.
The United States, for its part, in fourth place, is already vaccinating at a rate of more than 2 million doses a day and has given the green light to generalized immunization, and decrees the return to normality for the month of June , when he foresees having already achieved the immunity of the herd. Biden said Wednesday that they are considering donating their surplus vaccines to poor countries once they have reached their goal.
"We are going to ensure that we take care of the Americans first, and then we are going to try to help the rest of the world," he concluded.
As for the giants beyond the Western world, China has already vaccinated four people for every 40 inhabitants and hopes to have vaccinated 1.400 percent of its population of 10 billion by the end of June. Russia, for its part, had immunized 2,7 of its population as of February 18 and India, on February 0,7, 335 percent, according to data collected by Our World in Data published by Rtve. All three countries are vaccine producers and have prioritized exports. In total, according to the same source, more than 14 million injections have been administered worldwide in more than one hundred countries. But to see the inequality, in the case of Africa, for example, there are only XNUMX territories that have started the campaign.
So we go in Latin America
Latin America is a scale model of what is happening in the world. The large economies of the region monopolize many more vaccines than small countries, although in some cases such as Brazil the vaccination plan is delayed, with obstacles and a poor prognosis.
However, in the region there is another factor that comes into play: the majority participation of Chinese and Russian vaccines, as well as the upcoming approval of five Cuban vaccine projects, two of which are already in phase III of clinical trials. So this scenario is partially subject to other rules and is outlined in the medium term with another forecast.
To date, in the region Chile leads, and in fact is located in an advantageous place in the world ranking, with 12,4 percent of its population already vaccinated with at least one dose (as of February 16). Brazil follows with 2,9 percent of immunized people (as of February 18).
In terms of stock, in Latin America 87% of the doses already acquired are in the hands of only four countries: Brazil (15 million), Chile (8,6 million), Mexico and Argentina (4 million). While Honduras, for example, has not yet received vaccines and others barely have ridiculous amounts, such as Paraguay (4.000), Ecuador (73.000) or El Salvador (20.000).
Venezuela ranks at a medium level thanks to the vaccines received from Russia and China. In detail, 100.000 vaccines from Sputnik V are already applied, out of a total of 10 million agreed with Moscow, and 500.000 from the Chinese Sinopharm.
"Catastrophic moral failure"
It is impossible to hide a reality that is in plain sight. The WHO itself recognizes that the distribution of vaccines and the development of vaccination processes has been uneven and has provided unprecedented advantages.
"I have to be frank: the world is on the brink of catastrophic moral failure, and the price of this failure will be paid in lives and livelihoods in the world's poorest countries," cried WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, last February.
Although the WHO promoted an initiative since April 2020 to guarantee equal access to drugs by the most vulnerable countries, the fact is that the economic power of the great powers and the political interests of the multinational pharmaceutical companies that have put the Vaccines at the order of the free market are factors that have been guiding the path of immunization towards the scenario we live today.
“While vaccines bring hope to some, they become another brick in the wall of inequality between the haves and the have-nots. More than 39 million doses of vaccine have been administered in at least 49 higher-income countries. Only 25 doses have been administered in lower income countries. Not 25 million, not 25.000, (but) 25 ”, he lamented, during the inauguration of the 148th meeting of the executive board of the health agency.
There is no shortage of legal and political initiatives to make the health wall more evident and durable. Europe approved legislation that stops exports from its territories, whatever the destination, if the pharmaceutical companies have debts with their quotas. And Italy has already applied this regulation, expropriating this week from Astra Zeneca a shipment of 250.000 vaccines offered in its territory that were destined for Australia, due to the delay of the pharmaceutical company with Rome.
On the other hand, the old continent also discusses within its parliament and among its governments the application or not of a health passport with which only people already vaccinated could enter and circulate in their territories, which, if approved, would be a new obstacle to migration. Opposing countries fear it will result in losses from tourism.
In the United States there has also been talk of implementing a similar restriction.
On the other hand, subjecting poor countries to a donation from the great powers is another method of blackmail. Israel, for example, will only donate to countries that recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
All this story to tell that with vaccination what happens in the world with the distribution of wealth and with basic human rights is reissued. Big against small, domination against resistance, walls against bridges, market against humanity.