The United States Secretary of the Treasury, Janet Yellen, on Monday called on developed countries to increase the levels of health and economic assistance to developing nations, warning that slow vaccination campaigns in the latter could pose a threat not only to their economic recovery, but to that of the entire world.
In statements made in Chicago to the Council of Global Affairs, the official based her statement on statistics that highlight the possibility that up to 150 million people fall into poverty as a result of the economic crises caused by the pandemic.
“This would represent a profound economic tragedy for those countries and we should be concerned about them. But that is obvious. What is less obvious – but no less true – is that this divergence (between the speed with which countries are inoculating their population) would also be a problem for the United States.”, He indicated.
And I add: “Our main task clearly must be to stop the virus by making sure that vaccines, therapies and tests have the highest level of availability possible.”.
According to statistics from sites specialized in monitoring the production, distribution and application of the different inoculants globally, many countries would only be able to cover large parts of their populations by 2023 or 2024.
In contrast, for example, The United States would cover 75 percent of its population at the current vaccination rate in the next three months, the United Kingdom would do so in 5, and the total of the European Union in one year.
However, measures that could contribute more quickly to achieving the objectives mentioned by Yellen face reluctance on the part of several developed countries.
Joe Biden’s own administration has so far resisted lifting the intellectual property restrictions that would allow for increased vaccine production globally, despite a March 26 report that the possibility is being explored within the White House. .
An initiative of this nature presented to the World Trade Organization (WTO) by India and South Africa It was rejected by the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union, among others, who assured that the measure would undermine the development of the pharmaceutical industry by taking away incentives to invest in research and development.
The decision, like the current unequal distribution of vaccines globally, has been described as “grotesque”By the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
“In January, I declared that the world was on the brink of catastrophic moral failure if urgent measures were not taken to ensure a fair distribution of the anticovid vaccines. We have the means to avoid this failure, but it is surprising how little has been done to avoid it.”He said at a press conference at the end of March.
“The gap between the number of vaccines administered in rich countries and those applied through COVAX [el mecanismo de la OMS para abastecer a países pobres] it continues to grow, and is becoming more grotesque every day, “he said then.
Four days later, the authorities warned of delays in the distribution of vaccines because India, which manufactures inoculants developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford and used in the program, would prioritize its domestic demand in the face of an increase in cases locally.
A WHO statement noted that COVAX has informed participants who have been assigned doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine that some of the first deliveries scheduled for March will now take place in April.