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Uncooperative approach by developed countries on vaccines hinders global recovery

2021/2/23 8:47:46   source:Global Times

While massive vaccination campaigns are raising hope globally, the uncooperative and selfish attitude toward vaccines adopted by some developed countries, from manufacturing to distribution, has caused headwinds for the COVID-19 pandemic containment as well as the recovery of world economy.

As of Saturday, more than 200 million coronavirus vaccine doses have been administered in at least 107 countries and regions, with 45 percent delivered in rich countries from the Group of Seven (G7), which accounts for only about 10 percent of global population, according to AFP News Agency.

In the UK, one of the earliest to initiate massive vaccination, more than 17 million residents have had a first dose of the vaccine, and over 600,000 have received a second dose, latest official data on Saturday showed. Meanwhile, there are about 130 countries and regions that have not received one shot yet, United Nations secretary general António Guterres said last week.

Some developed countries have adopted an uncooperative approach with regard to pandemic containment as well as vaccines. Some wealthy countries have been scrambling for vaccines as many hoard doses triggered by vaccine nationalism.

Though it is true that most of the developed countries, with poor prevention measures, have been hit by the virus worse than others, they have gone much further than meeting domestic vaccine demands.

For instance, the number of doses ordered by Canada was enough to vaccinate its entire population five times over, according to media reports. Meanwhile, many poor countries may take years to access enough vaccines.

However, locking excessive number of vaccine orders may not be able to protect a nation from the once-in-a-century global health crisis. The production capacity of vaccine manufacturers cannot immediately meet orders from developed countries; meanwhile, the virus continues to mutate, creating new risks for the world.

Under such circumstances, it is hard for countries to pursue an effective economic recovery, including the short-sighted developed nations. With global value chains under risk amid the global crisis, vaccine nationalism can neither block virus spreading, nor promote economic recovery.

The best choice for the international community is to cooperate on expanding vaccine production to enhance equitable global access so as to jointly defeat the virus and initiate recovery effectively.

With its outbreak under containment, China was estimated to be the only major economy to register growth in 2020. As a major driving force for global economic recovery during post-pandemic era, China has been enhancing cooperation with others. The nation has pledged to offer its vaccines as a global public good.

In early February, China announced its contribution of 10 million vaccines to COVAX, mainly to help meet the needs of developing countries. So far, it has provided vaccine aid to 53 countries.

Not only should the developed nations stop hoarding vaccines, but also realize the significance of joining hands with developing countries to fight the crisis together. And only by adopting a cooperative approach can the world achieve an effective recovery from the unprecedented recession, including the rich countries.

The article was compiled based on an interview with Ding Yifan, a chair professor at the Beijing Foreign Studies University. bizopinion@globaltimes.com.cn 

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