Thinking Citizen Blog — “The Era of Vaccine Diplomacy Is Here” (New York Times)
Thinking Citizen Blog — Thursday is Health, Health Care and Global Health Policy Day
Today’s Topic: “The Era of Vaccine Diplomacy Is Here” (New York Times)
Obsessed with getting our own vaccines, are we giving enough thought to the rest of the world? Today, a summary of a recent New York Times editorial stressing the need to counter the “soft power” initiatives of China and Russia. Did you know about the Sputnik V vaccine and Mexico’s recent order for 7.2 million doses? The final segment of the post is a footnote on an editorial in the Boston Globe calling for the lifting of patent protection and the transfer of technology and know-how. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
“THE PANDEMIC WILL NOT BE VANQUISHED ANYWHERE UNTIL IT IS VANQUISHED EVERYWHERE”
1. “South Africa, for example, halted use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine when it showed disappointing results against a new, more contagious variant of the virus that has made landfall in the United States.”
2. While (as of February 28th) 14% of Americans had been vaccinated, only 7% of the population of low income countries had vaccinated anyone at all!!!!
3. “Another brick in the wall of inequality between the haves and have nots.” (Director General of the World Health Organization)
NB: But there is some good news. The Biden administration has rejoined the WHO and “pledged $4 billion to the global vaccination drive.” The New York Times editors note that it is in our national interest to “not cede critical soft power advantage to autocratic rivals like Russia and China.”
CHINESE VACCINES AND THE “BELT AND ROAD INITIATIVE”
1.“China has made sharing its homegrown vaccines a centerpiece of its “Belt and Road Initiative,” a global strategy to invest in more than 70 countries and international organizations.”
2. “China’s vaccine diplomacy has had its glitches, most notably the lack of verified information about the efficacy of its vaccines, but for many poor countries, China’s vaccines are far better than nothing.”
3. “Recently, for example, China announced it would donate 300,000 doses to Egypt.”
RUSSIA’S SPUTNIK V VACCINE, MEXICO, AND ARGENTINA
1. “Russia claims it has orders for its Sputnik V vaccine from about 20 countries — including America’s southern neighbor, Mexico, which has contracted to receive 7.4 million doses between February and April.”
2. “After a bout of Covid-19 in late January, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico reported that he had received a warm phone call from President Vladimir Putin of Russia and that he had invited Mr. Putin to visit Mexico.”
3. “At about the same time, the president and vice president of Argentina, Alberto Fernández and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, both received their first jabs of Sputnik V.”
FOOTNOTE — Boston Globe Editorial — lift patent protection, transfer technology and know how — Now!
1. “What good are effective COVID-19 vaccines if limited supplies and patents prevent people around the world from getting the shots before new viral strains reignite the pandemic?”
2. Ideally, the editors argue, the sharing of technology and know-how should be done voluntarily. If this does not happen, governments should make it compulsory.
3. This is no time for business as usual.
For the last three years of posts organized by theme:
Please share the most interesting thing you learned in the last week related to health, health care or health care policy — the ethics, economics, politics, history…. Or the coolest, most important thing you learned in your life related to health are or health care policy that the rest of us may have missed. Or just some random health-related fact that blew you away.
This is your chance to make some one’s day. Or to cement in your mind something really important you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than you otherwise would about something that matters.