Even as the novel coronavirus vaccine is still a few months away, several wealthier countries like Britain, France, Germany and the US have entered into pre-purchase agreements with Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers, a development that has come to be known as “vaccine nationalism”. There are fears that such advance agreements will make the initial few vaccines unaffordable and inaccessible to everyone apart from the rich countries in a world of roughly 8 billion people. Similar arrangements have been reached by European Union, and some other countries like Mexico, as well.
This has led to the World Health Organization (WHO) warning that nations that hoard possible Covid-19 vaccines while excluding others would deepen the pandemic. “We need to prevent vaccine nationalism. Sharing finite supplies strategically and globally is actually in each country’s national interest,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had said. Experts agree that frontline health workers, those on emergency duties, the elderly and the sick, pregnant women, and other similarly vulnerable population groups across the world must be given first access to the vaccines
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