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Omicron variants reveal the true global danger of “vaccine apartheid”.Rally Elliott

NSandatory face mask is back in England. The cause of fear is back. A few months later, assuming the Covid-19 pandemic was almost over, the British government Imposed new restrictions To control the spread of new omicron variants of the coronavirus.

Financial market I didn’t wait for the announcement from Downing Street. It’s too early to know how big a threat a new stock could pose, but as soon as reports came from southern Africa, investors assumed the worst. Airline stocks were hit hardest as stock prices fell sharply and travel bans were reintroduced.

Tightening western regulations in response to Omicron is a typical case for horses to close stable doors after being bolted. International Monetary Fund And that World Bank It has warned rich developed countries that not only the poor but also the rich need to be vaccinated to end the pandemic.

Gordon Brown has called for action on the G7 and G20 since the beginning of the year, pointing out that the West has a stockpile of vaccines that Africans never use while they are out of the jab.Former Prime Minister The warning was ignored.

so World Trade Organization Attempts to secure a waiver of intellectual property rights so that countries such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) and South Africa can produce their own jabs are supported by the United States but opposed by the EU, United Kingdom and Switzerland. increase.

In some developed countries, pharmaceutical companies have no incentive to produce new vaccines without patent protection, and in any case, poor countries lack the technical manufacturing expertise to turn prescriptions into finished products. Insist. Neither the IMF nor the United States are convinced of this debate, and developing countries will be angry with “vaccine apartheid” at the WTO Ministerial Conference in Geneva this week.

Whatever the outcome of the intellectual property column, it is already clear that multilateralism has failed the test. Even if there was a time of international solidarity, this was, but est has exceeded promises and is underdelivered.

Sure, the rich nations of Europe and North America are keen to implement big legislation to fight Covid-19 and reduce their budget deficits, but the vaccine penny pinch for developing countries is always in the wrong economy. Will be.

Rich countries need to allow poor countries to increase jab rates, or they need to protect themselves from unvaccinated areas of the world. The fact that the first case of Omicron has already been reported in the United Kingdom shows how difficult it is to do the latter.

The government’s primary duty is to ensure the safety of its own people, which can only be done by acting in groups, which is one of them. Some issues are global in nature.

Last month, the World Health Organization said Less than 10% Of the 54 African countries, the goal was to vaccinate 40% of the population by the end of 2021. Other variants may continue.

The debate in favor of donating more vaccines and waiving intellectual property rights is the same as since the beginning of the pandemic. The right thing is also self-interest.

This is also true in the best-case scenarios where vaccines provide protection against Omicron and new strains have proven to be less contagious than currently feared. Why? This is because some countries, such as the United Kingdom, are willing to take a wait-and-see approach, while others may be more risk averse. Austria imposed stricter new blockade restrictions last week as the number of infections surged due to relatively low vaccination rates (by European standards).

China, far more important to the global economy than Austria, tends to take a zero-tolerant approach to Covid and may decide to close its factories and ports, thereby already in a serious supply chain. A bottleneck is added.

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The dilemma faced by central banks will be exacerbated. On the one hand, additional inflationary pressure makes the case of higher interest rates stronger. On the other hand, the possibility of weakening demand as consumers and businesses become more cautious would justify doing nothing. The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee will receive a briefing from Chris Whitty, the Government’s Chief Health Officer. In the short term, what he says about the health effects of Omicron can be as important as any other economic data in determining what the cost of borrowing will be. ..

And this is just the best scenario. In the worst case, new variants spread rapidly and vaccines provide limited protection. Infection rates are rising and the government feels obliged to impose restrictions on economic activity again. Whitty thinks the general public is not very aggressive Accept curbs It’s more about personal freedom than the spring of 2020, and he’s arguably right.

People who have been vaccinated think they can live normally. Many unvaccinated people, especially young people, feel that they are at low risk of getting serious illness or dying from Covid (which is the case). Another blockade does more than just cost you financially. It will be ignored by many and difficult political sales.

In the worst case, developed countries have it in their gifts to prevent the emergence of new variants, so they are the only ones responsible. We still have time to do the right thing. Rich countries need to ensure that the vaccine goals of poor countries are met. They need to fulfill their financial pledge. They should stop stockpiling vaccines that they never use. They need to reverse the reduction of aid. They need to give up patent protection. They need to stop being so short-sighted.

Omicron variants reveal the true global danger of “vaccine apartheid”.Rally Elliott

Source link Omicron variants reveal the true global danger of “vaccine apartheid”.Rally Elliott

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