South Africa: Vaccine Nationalism - a Foretaste of a Disunited International Front On the Climate Crisis

opinion

The 'vaccine nationalism' of the global North does not bode well for the international cooperation and investment required to protect billions of vulnerable people in low- and middle-income countries against the effects of climate change.

As of 23 July 2021, 69% of the population of the United Kingdom had received at least one Covid-19 vaccine. In South Africa, at the same date, this statistic stood at roughly 9%. In Nigeria, it was as low as just over 1%.

Once Covid-19 vaccines were successfully developed in record time, the spotlight was on the most influential global leaders to see whether they would pursue an equitable distribution of vaccines. The United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, called the consideration of vaccine equity "the biggest moral test before the global community".

We are now in a position to see that the leaders have failed this test. The distribution of vaccines has been remarkably uneven and unjust, with just 10 countries having administered 75% of all vaccines. The Covax programme, set up supposedly to ensure vaccine equity, is falling far short of its target of delivering two billion doses by the end of the year -- having distributed a mere 90 million vaccines by mid-June....

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