WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan on Saturday cautioned against “vaccine nationalism”, saying it was in “everybody’s self-interest” to take an equitable approach to vaccine distribution and deployment.
Delivering an online lecture to mark the commencement of the class of 2020-21 at the Asian College of Journalism, Chennai, Swaminathan said, “The argument we are making is that it would be impossible to go back to normal, for the global economy to recover if only pockets of people are protected, while the virus rips through other economies.”
She added, “India will play a major role in scaling up and manufacture of the vaccine”.
She recalled that during the H1N1 outbreak, several high-income countries had stockpiled the vaccines. “It was only when the epidemic turned out to be less severe than expected that those countries gave up their stocks to low-income countries. That would be a terrible thing if it happened this time,” she said.