The rhetoric of the vaccine market has been enlisted to promote a broader human goal, even if it serves to prop up a very distinct elite: the social media and technological kleptocrats; the pharmacological behemoths; the corrupt incompetents in government. And now, the pieces are moving into their standard places. Privileges are being asserted; priorities are being pushed, despite the summit proclaiming language of the politics of generosity.
Charities are also warning that the wealthier states are on a hoarding drive leaving poorer states to catch their breath. The People’s Vaccine Alliance comprising such groups as Global Justice Now, Oxfam and Amnesty International trembles with indignation, claiming that 90% of people across 70 poorer countries will not be able to be vaccinated in 2021. Canada is singled out in Oxfam International’s press release with special reproach, having “enough vaccines to vaccinate each Canadian five times” (8.9 doses per head). The United States is a runner-up with 7.3 doses per head. Data gathered by the alliance reveals that “rich nations representing just 14 per cent of the world’s population have bought up to 53 per cent of all the most promising vaccines so far.”
China’s rambunctious state paper, the Global Times, contrasts this with the politics of US vaccine policy, suggesting that the term “vaccine diplomacy” was “a trite headline conceived of by the West’s own mentality.” In the vaccine wars, the true culprit was Washington, intent on hogging the show. “Compared with China’s generosity, the US has made no secret of its selfishness. The White House has made it clear it seeks to prioritize Americans for coronavirus vaccine shipments, and then it would take care of its main allies.”
Whether it is vaccine nationalism or vaccine diplomacy, both forms stem from the same source of inspiration. Self-interest comes before the demands of a common humanity. The weak and vulnerable, as ever, remain spectators to their own fate.Hoarding the Jabs: The Inequalities of Vaccine Distribution – Global ResearchGlobal Research – Centre for Research on Globalization