[News] Vaccines for the Good of All!

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Feb 24 11:40:27 EST 2021

https://www.resumen-english.org/2021/02/vaccines-for-the-good-of-all/ Vaccines
for the Good of All!By Adalberto Santana on February 23, 2021


Soberana 2 production in Cuba, Photo: Alejandro Azcuy

As February ends the international scenario of the COVID-19 pandemic has
the central task of immunizing more than 7 billion people in the entire
world. This is a difficult challenge that 21st Century society must
undertake, overcoming the fierce obstacles offered by the global scene.
Particularly those obstacles presented by the policies of those governments
of Western powers that are not doing everything humanly desirable to
overcome the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

This is why the government of Mexico condemned the hoarding of the vaccines
by the producer countries in the General Security Council of the United
Nations session on February 17. This point was accentuated when the Mexican
Chancellor, Marcelo Ebrard Casaubón, called upon the international
community to prevent the “cornering” of vaccines and also to accelerate the
delivery of these products to the Global Access Fund for COVID-19 vaccines
– COVAX. This is an urgent and necessary task for all countries in the
world, giving support of the most vulnerable as a priority. We believe that
the poorest sectors of the world are also those who have the least ability
to overcome the pandemic. Without the eradication of COVID-19 in those
areas, the spread of the virus will not halt in the world. Their
vulnerability in the midst of the pandemic will spread rapidly everywhere
in this increasingly globalized world. We should remember that between
February of 1918 and April of 1920, exactly 101 years ago, the whole world
suffered from one of the worst recorded pandemics, when the spread of the
so-called “Spanish Influenza” caused more than 50 million deaths. At the
time, the world population was approximately 1.9 billion inhabitants.

At the present time, according to the estimates of Johns Hopkins
University, at a worldwide level, the number of people infected is close to
112 million and the number of dead stands at 2.5 million people. This toll
has been accumulated in just over a year of spread of COVID-19. If we think
about other periods of history, especially when European colonizers arrived
in the so-called “New World,” they unleashed a germ warfare that
dramatically slaughtered the legitimate owners of these lands – as Simon
Bolivar, the Great Liberator, correctly characterized them in his “Letter
from Jamaica.”  With the so-called “discovery” of the West Indies, a
conservative estimate of the loss of life is 40 million people, leaving
much of the New World depopulated.

What is certain is that the epidemics arrived in great waves, causing
irreversible harm to the indigenous peoples: the Swine Flu (1493), Smallpox
(1518-1526) measles (1530-1532, 1559, 1563-1564 and 1595), chicken-pox
(1538) Influenza (1558-1559), typhus or pulmonary plague  (1545-1548 and
1576-1580), mumps (1550), whooping cough (1562, plague (1560-1561
and1587-1595), diphtheria, etc. The mortality was horrifying, just as it
was two centuries later on the Australian continent, although by that time
the mechanisms of disease transmission were known and some vaccines existed.

In the present time, the most human desire and longing is for this pandemic
to be eradicated.  The strategy for the Western and most developed
countries has been to immunize their populations first, essentially
forgetting about the rest of the world. Due to this, UN Secretary-General
Antonio Guterres has sounded the alarm about the fact that 75% of all
vaccine doses administered have been in only about a dozen countries. In
addition to that, in 130 countries no vaccines have been administered at
all. Which is to say that the access to vaccine has been concentrated in
the richest countries in the world.

The Mexican diplomat put his finger firmly on the problem when he mentioned
this exclusion and pointed out that the countries with fewest resources –
which are those with the most deprived populations, both economically and
socially – “will have no generalized access (to vaccines) until the middle
of 2023.”  This situation again demonstrates that, just as in the colonial
period of our Americas, those who are excluded in times of neoliberalism in
the 21st Century are the ones medically most vulnerable.

In other words, we are calling attention to the fact that there is a great
monopoly of vaccines, generated by the wealth of the most developed nations
in the capitalist world.  Only the actions of some nations, such as Russia
and the People’s Republic of China, have considered vaccines against
COVID-19 as a part of the public goods. Thanks to this policy, some
countries of mid-level development and others that are part of the
so-called Third World have been able to gain access to vaccination. The
Russian vaccine Sputnik V of the Gamaleya Institute has been approved for
administration in more than 27 countries, including Russian itself, Serbia,
Argentina, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Mexico, among others.  In
addition, the Ad5-nCoV, produced by the Biotechnology Institute of Beijing
and by CanSino Biologics, has been used in China and distributed in Turkey,
Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and Chile, as well as a number of Third World

We should point out that the agreement between the governments of
Presidents Andrés Manuel López Obrador of México and Alberto Fernandez of
Argentina for the production and distribution of AstraZeneca and University
of Oxford vaccines (notable for being produced on a non-profit basis)
throughout nations of the Americas. In a similar manner, the advances in
public health policy of the Cuban Revolution stand out; due to their spirit
of solidarity and the development of their biopharmaceutical industry, they
have been able to achieve the creation of four vaccines: Soberana 01,
Soberana 02, Abdala, and  Mambisa. The second of these vaccines, developed
by the Finlay Vaccine Institute, is in phase III of clinical trials, in
which more than 42,000 citizens of Cuba and Iran will participate, starting
on March 1. Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel has said, “Soberana 2 is
being produced on a large scale in the National Center for Biological
Preparations (Biocen), a scientific institute of CubaBioFarma with 30 years
of experience in vaccine production. Administering three doses of the
vaccine will generate permanent immunity.”

So the demand of all the peoples and the countries of our Americas and of
the surrounding world should be nothing less than Vaccines for the good of

Source: Telesur
translation Resumen Latinoamericano, North America bureau
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