While the EU is arguing with AstraZeneca over vaccine orders and volumes, other countries — especially the less financially prosperous southern hemisphere countries — face much more serious problems in terms of procurement of sufficient doses of vaccine. The press writes that it is in Europe’s interest to ensure that vaccines are available globally.
Feverishly packed with vaccine
If the vaccine does not become available everywhere, then Covid-19 will not be defeated, writes Vecernji list:
“Today’s absolutely Darwinian times, with greed everywhere, is a direct result of the imbalance in supply and demand, but also the result of vaccines being used to achieve political goals. … So, the political future of Boris Johnson depends on the success of vaccination; Hungary also builds its internal political calculations on this basis. However, it is too early to proclaim victory, because as long as vaccination is not carried out all over the world, certain regions will remain a kind of Petri dish: more and more new strains of the virus will appear there. … Do not give in to illusions and expect that the problem of a global scale can be solved within the framework of individual states; until solidarity and reason replace the impulsive vaccine filling, the danger will not disappear.”
No chance for autocrats
The wealthy West must have an interest in seeing that poorer countries also receive a blanket vaccination, writes Dagens Nyheter:
“The more regions of the world are covered by the virus, the higher the risk of new mutations. … In addition, the geopolitical aspect cannot be ignored. After World War II, the United States took control of the restoration of strategically important territories in Western Europe and East Asia. Thus, they created in these countries goodwill towards Washington and confidence in capitalism and democracy. If the EU and the US today do not take a responsible approach and do not take the situation into their own hands, then Beijing and Moscow will try to use any gap in vaccine diplomacy in order to make the respective countries dependent on themselves — and strengthen the reputation of their essentially authoritarian systems.”
Patents — Take and Revoke!
Markus Bachmann from Medecins Sans Frontieres in Die Presse calls for a rejection of the principles of a market economy in this area:
“It is the opaque contracts and patents that have led to our dependence on a handful of firms that make decisions based on the principles of the market economy, but not medicine. … In order to fight the coronavirus, it is necessary, at least until the end of the pandemic, to abolish the right to protect intellectual property, such as patents for medicines, vaccines, and tests. Moreover, serious funding from the budget is allocated for the development of vaccines — that is, taxpayers’ money. If this approach is implemented, then the mass production of generic vaccines will cover the enormous demand that we are facing now — not only in Europe but around the world.”
Helping the poor — improving the image
London has a serious chance, The Daily Telegraph notes with satisfaction:
“The UK must seize the opportunity to become the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer and also the world’s most important donor for those who have failed to act in a timely and effective manner. It would be a dignified — and generous way to invest taxpayer money, which would also give the country colossal benefits. It would be possible to save a huge number of lives, support world science — and strengthen the image of Great Britain in the world. Instead of a reputation as such an appendage of Europe and the United States, our country would appear as an innovative power acting in the interests of the whole world. … Of course, by providing part of the vaccines to Europe, we could possibly defuse diplomatic tensions with Brussels, but other regions of the world now need our vaccines much more.”