The Real Reason the World Isn’t Being Vaccinated
By now, you might have heard about the catastrophe Covid’s becoming in India. Or maybe you haven’t. Then there’s Peru. South Africa. Mexico. Argentina. Indonesia.
Covid is now at the stage — if it wasn’t already — of becoming a colossal, terrible global tragedy, a catastrophe of epic proportions.
But one of a special kind. One that teaches us how ill-prepared we are, really, for an age of catastrophe. The grim, bitter truth — one that nobody much in the West will want to hear — is that the world is suffering a Covid catastrophe because the Western approach to Covid has created a global catastrophe. What do I mean by that?
Poorer countries can’t get vaccines. So a second and or third wave is simply ripping through them. They’re countries like India, for example, or Mexico. These countries have made many mistakes, to be sure — India’s ultra-nationalist, Trumpist leader, Modi, just like Trump, declared victory over Covid, and then resisted doing much about it. Nations like Mexico have incredibly dense population centres through which pandemic is all but guaranteed to spread. Poverty is not just about money.
But there’s a larger truth at work here. Poorer countries can’t get vaccines.
Why is that? Because the West didn’t let them — and still won’t. That’s not just morally offensive, because it’s literally going to cause millions of needless deaths. It’s stupid, because new variants will come back to infect the West, too.
Why can’t poor countries get vaccines? Because the rich West has literally made it impossible for them to. Canada and America blocked drugs rights waivers at the WTO for Covid vaccines. So now there is very, very limited production — instead of vaccines being open-source that can be produced across the world in many locations.
How limited are we talking? The West left the poor world to basically be supplied by one place: the Serum Institute of India. That’s one major producer for something like half the globe. That’s about 4 billion people, in case you were wondering.
How did the Serum Institute of India end up producing a vaccine? It got lucky. It signed a deal with Oxford University. That was back when the researchers at Oxford said they wanted to make vaccines free or very low cost — not just as in financially free, but donating the rights to any pharmaceutical company.
And then something dark, weird, and strange happened. According to everything I’ve read, on the advice of the Bill Gates Foundation, Oxford changed its mind. It sold its rights to AstraZeneca. Who, of course, created a giant monopoly.
That’s how half the world ended up in the impossible predicament of hoping for one institute in India to make all its vaccines.
That hope was always too much. Because when India’s second wave hit, thanks to Modi’s nationalist folly, it spread like wildfire. And India then basically said: “We’re keeping all these doses meant for you guys, because now there’s not even enough for us.”
Do you understand how wicked and gruesome this story really is?
Let me try to sum it up as plainly as I can. More than half the world doesn’t have enough vaccines. Not because it had to be that way. But because the West wanted it that way. Powerful institutions and figures in the West. All those “negotiators” who blocked access to vaccine patents at the WTO, on the behalf of big Pharma companies, with the assent of their Presidents and Prime Ministers. The bizarre scandal of Oxford privatising its vaccine after pledging not to and selling it to AstraZeneca.
What is the lesson here?
Vaccine capitalism has failed the world. In an epic, astonishing, nightmarish fashion. Why is it that one Western institution appears to have been capable of blocking the entire world from getting vastly more vaccines faster?
Because capitalism. Why is it that Western nations have repeatedly blocked opening vaccine patents? Because capitalism.
Think Joe Biden’s such a great guy? What about Justin Trudeau? Wonderful folks, right? Then why are they letting a massive, massive human catastrophe unfold across the world? That’s going to cause death on an horrific scale? Which Arundhati Roy has already described as a crime against humanity?
My feeling, and my bet, is that the average Westerner couldn’t give a hoot about the story above. They’ve become selfish, materialistic, individualistic, vain, stupid, ignorant — at least Anglo nations, like America and Britain have been. And so there’s no outcry in the West to vaccinate the world.
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