Saturday, August 20, 2022

Fight Against Pandemic: Global Vaccine Diplomacy

The pandemic destroyed the socio-economic lives of people across the globe. We have had epidemics like – Black Death, Spanish flu, HIV aids, Cholera pandemic, etc. Coronavirus along with its emerging variants is a newly developed infectious disease. Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus are set to be experiencing mild to moderate respiratory illness. Some may require special treatment for recovering others might not. Older people and people would underline medical problems namely cardiovascular disease diabetes respiratory diseases are likely to develop serious illnesses.

There is no full cure to this disease yet but slowing down transmission requires correct and full information about, how it spreads, preventive measures possible. One of the most resorted solutions that the nations around the globe sorted to was temporary or partial lockdowns amid Pendemic.

A controversial outbreak

On 31st December 2019, China reported a cluster of cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, Hubei province, identified as coronavirus. On the following days of the week WHO had reported on social media and its website about the pneumonia cases taking place. Published on 5th of January the disease outbreak of the new virus which can actually and adversely affect public health. From the human-to-human transmission, the COVID-19 virus also said to be a zoonotic disease.

The USA had been pushing inquiries to determine the origins of coronavirus whether it leaked from a Wuhan lab. While the USA has been holding China responsible for the emergence of the virus and spreading it across the globe. Chinese officials from the Wuhan lab have been repeatedly stating the Wuhan Lab Staff tested negative with COVID-19 antibodies. Getting back at the USA by responding that emergence of the virus took place elsewhere in the world. Possibly frozen food imports or USA military operations led to the spread.

A CURE FOR THE CAUSE

Keeping aside the global political debate in regards to the origin of COVID-19, nations started looking for a cure. Covid-19 vaccination on the roll to fight the efficacy rates against the different variants emerging – The alpha, beta, gamma, and delta variants considered variants of concern by the WHO. The WHO classified lambda as a global “variant of interest” — a step below variant of concern.

The Mutations accumulating in the original strain have emerged as the dominant strain in almost all geographical regions. At least 13 different vaccines have administered, few of them for Emergency Use Listing are

1.The Pfizer/BioNTech Comirnaty vaccine

2.  The SII/Covishield and AstraZeneca/AZD1222 vaccines (developed by   AstraZeneca/Oxford and manufacturer – the State Institute of India and SK Bio respectively).

3. The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

4. The Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine.

5.The Sinopharm vaccine produced by Beijing Bio-Institute of Biological Products Co Ltd, a subsidiary of China National Biotec Group.

6. The Sinovac-CoronaVac.

“All the above-cited vaccines have variation in their efficacy rates in regard to the asymptomatic and severe cases in different regions and against different variants of novel coronavirus ranging from 65% to 95% pre and post-vaccination dose(s).”

VACCINE DIPLOMACY

The vaccine development further led to the new term “Vaccine Diplomacy”.  

INDIA emerging as the “World’s biggest exporter” following its “Neighbourhood First “policy, we could see other countries ramping up the process to the “low-level income countries” in their surrounding geographical regions while the supply of vaccines to other countries will take time. Following “Made in INDIA” and The Vaccine Maitri initiative, Vaccines supplies are in lakhs as grants and commercial supplies and earning goodwill to countries like Commonwealth of Dominica, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan, the Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Sri Lanka Bahrain, Oman, Afghanistan, Barbados.

GERMANY’s decision to 20 percent of its donations directly to individual states. Recipients are to include Ukraine, Armenia, and Namibia. The decision when the supply will begin is not clear yet.

USA Strategy for Global Vaccine Sharing, Announcing Allocation Plan for the First 25 million Doses for sharing globally. In the view of ending of pandemic globally the USA would be supplying – Approximately 6 million for South and Central America, approximately 7 million for Asia, approximately 5 million for Africa, and to regional priority areas.

RUSSIA’s Sputnik V vaccine is gaining ground in Latin America, Eastern Europe, Asia, and Africa. This is also a chance for Russia to strengthen its relationship with allies giving it a Geopolitical advantage.

PATH TO FIGHT COVID

The vaccination drive from nation to nation is not less controversial unless the intent to willingly provide its support to poor countries like Africa where only 1% of the population is vaccinated to fight against pandemics.

WHO’s The Global Vaccine Action plan is a framework to prevent millions of deaths by 2020 through more equitable access to existing vaccines for people in all communities an effort that brought together development, health, and immunization experts and stakeholders. The global economies show commitment to achieving the ambitious goals following campaigns on a larger scale.

An efficient approach in this regard required while the countries supplying vaccines are also being criticised for the slow pace of DOSE 1 and DOSE 2 Jab’s within their own regions/country.

It should not be a “Who Wins” rather “A Global Win” against the epidemic that has forced us to live a New Normal life of wearing masks, public restrictions, and lockdowns during this Pendemic time.

The WHO website quotes “New Global Dashboard on COVID-19 Vaccine Equity finds low-income countries would add $38 billion to their GDP forecast for 2021 if they had the same vaccination rate as high-income countries. Global economic recovery at risk if vaccines are not equitably manufactured, scaled up and distributed”.

Vaccine inequity is the world’s biggest obstacle to ending this pandemic and recovering from COVID-19,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization.

Also, Read – Tokyo 2020 Day-9 , a Bit Disappointment for India

Arshey Bhardwaj
Arshey Bhardwaj is a postgraduate in the field of Political Science from the University Of Delhi. Her areas of interest are Global Relations, India's Diplomatic Relations, Policymaking, Social issues. Her focus is on enhancing her analytical skills and learning foreign languages. Follow her on Twitter: @ArsheyBhardwaj

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