Time To Curb The Global Covid-19 “Vaccine Apartheid”

The world we live in always remained divided in terms of race, tribe, nationalism, slavery and economy. Economic apartheid, being the most common, has always remained a bone of contention among groups of people. However, a new form of apartheid has come to the fore that not only shook the humanity but also gave a new dimension to nationalism. The covid-19 vaccine being seen as an elixir of life is said to have all the strength one needs against a common global enemy.  But the irony is not that the world is facing a common enemy but the unequal division of power to defend against it.

This asymmetry is further augmented by a difference in economic power. Today, Britain retains enough vaccines to vaccinate its population thrice while poorer countries are still waiting to get their fair share of vaccines. While countries of the global south struggle to provide basic health care to their population, countries in the global north are projecting to normalize soon.

Element of greed as said by Boris Johnson has overshadowed any notion of human right and collective responsibility. Where rich countries have bought vaccines bypassing international bodies meant to ensure fair distribution, global financial institutions like IMF have played their roles in further tightening the fiscal space of already choked countries, reducing their chances of survival to a dismal level. It is said that if the vaccines were equitably distributed, 70% of the global population could have been vaccinated ending the crisis logically and conclusively.

Global financial institutions and affluent countries should play their long due part to gain collectively. They must understand that virus in any part of the world will remain a global threat.

Fragile states must be given due importance as a developed nation gets for vaccines distribution. It is the right time when financial institutions have cancelled debts of weak states so they may be able to finance their domestic health care and social system to strengthen their base and avoid preventable deaths. Debt cancellation will allow them to finance small and medium businesses that form a backbone of the economy. This vaccines apartheid must be seen as a human rights violation and must be reversed or else humanity will remain stuck in the menace of this crisis.

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