ABU DHABI, (Pakistan Point News - 14th Jun, 2021) A UAE newspaper has said that rich nations must do more than just donate surplus vaccines if they hope to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Public health experts and humanitarian groups are calling for money, increased production and logistical support to help developing countries where the virus is still raging.
"The appeal came after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he hoped leaders of the Group of Seven major industrialised nations will agree to provide at least 1 billion vaccine doses for poorer countries," said Gulf Today in its editorial on Monday.
"The G-7 leaders, who are holding their annual meeting in Cornwall, southwest England, continue to debate other forms of aid to get life-saving vaccine shots into arms," added the daily.
The paper went on to say, "While almost half of the combined population of the G-7 nations has received at least one dose of vaccine the worldwide figure is less than 13%. In Africa, it’s just 2.2%.
"Africa is now the only region where the COVID-19 pandemic is still on the rise, with a weekly increase of 30 percent, and it is at risk of a third wave of the disease.
"US President Joe Biden on Thursday pledged 500 million doses of the BioNTech-Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to developing nations. Biden said that vaccinating the rest of the world was the only way to end the pandemic for good."
International Monetary Fund economists recently estimated it would cost $50 billion to vaccinate 60% of the world’s population by the middle of next year and that achieving that goal would generate $9 trillion in additional economic output by 2025.
Those appealing for wealthier nations to do more to make vaccines available worldwide argue it would be a worthwhile investment in human capital.
Fragile health care systems in low-income countries need equipment, training and logistical support so they can mount the kind of turbocharged mass vaccination programmes that have been successful in Europe and North America.
More than 60% of the UK population, and almost 80% of adults, have received at least a dose of vaccine.
While infections, hospitalisations and deaths have all plunged with the success of the vaccination programme in Britain, public health officials are still concerned about new variants that may prove more resistant to existing vaccines.
Developing nations are also calling on the US, Britain and the European Union – where the most widely used vaccines were developed – to relax patent protections and provide technical assistance so they can produce the shots for themselves.
The Sharjah-based daily concluded by saying, "The Biden administration has backed a temporary waiver of patent protections, saying 'extraordinary times and circumstances call for extraordinary measures'."