MORAL MOVEMENT

Make vaccines a global common good

In Summary
  • Rich nations have ordered millions of doses as poor countries wobble, without knowledge and means of how to begin.
  • We – I have signed up – are petitioning richer countries to advance debt relief to the world’s poorest countries, allowing that precious money to save lives.

Soaring coronavirus infections and deaths worldwide make retiring 2020 the year of the black swan. The year 2021 opens with the rollout of vaccines that could save humanity if the vials reach the vulnerable in developing countries.

Analysts of global economies estimate between $10 to 20 trillion worth of investments and potential opportunities are being destroyed in 200 countries and territories. The shutdown of global economies and the blow to transport systems are debilitating. Job losses, crippled food production, destroyed supply chains, stalled global tourist flows, medical chaos, closed schools, and herd responses are unprecedented.

Johns Hopkins University data, collated from the World Health Organization, the European Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, and country-specific health organisations, show the devastating impact of Covid-19. Coronavirus  has forced governments, cities, communities, the powerful and vulnerable, to their knees. The invisible enemy has changed the world so suddenly – so certainly.

But there is no equal opportunity in acquiring vaccines needed to inoculate populations to achieve herd immunity. Rich nations have ordered millions of doses as poor countries wobble, without knowledge and means of how to begin.

Coronavirus vaccines offer hope for desperate humanity. Big pharma Pfizer and Moderna have rolled out vaccines to save humanity. Last week, the United Kingdom ordered 800,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine for 50 hospitals and distribution centres. Health workers, senior citizens and nursing homes are listed for preferential vaccination.

Interpol sent out alerts for possible theft and counterfeiting of the vaccines for the black market. The illicit markets would most likely be third world countries, which may not be prepared to meet the cost of procurement and lacking logistics of distribution.

Nobel Peace Laureate Dr Muhammad Yunus is petitioning the world to make the vaccines a Global Common Good. The call is attracting global support under the leadership of the ‘Avaaz’ team. The Avaaz team, whose champions are Nobel laureates and other moral leaders, is growing pretty fast.

The group does not want big pharma monopolies and patents to compromise on saving lives. The moral movement seeks to spread compassion, empathy, respect, love, hope and shared humanity.

Yunus, a 2006 Nobel laureate, tells governments and business leaders: “We call on you to urgently ensure access to lifesaving Covid-19 vaccines, treatments and equipment for everyone in the world. Patents should be lifted, technological knowledge shared freely and openly, and no profiteering allowed during this pandemic. Governments, scientists and pharmaceutical companies must cooperate and combine resources to ensure no one is left behind. The pandemic will not be over, until it’s over everywhere.”

Governments are discussing the agenda at the World Trade Organization, but rich countries – from the European Union to the US – seem still willing to put the interests of pharmaceutical companies before the needs and rights of people.

Avaaz, a 60-million-person global campaign network, works to ensure that the views and values of the world’s people shape global decision-making. ‘Avaaz’ means voice or song. Avaaz members are spread across 18 countries on six continents and operate in 17 languages.

The signatories, so far, include 25 Nobel peace laureates, among them South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1984), Poland’s Lech Walesa (1983) and iconic Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev (1990). Gorbachev presided over the end of the Cold War.

Former presidents of 135 countries, among them Mary Robinson of Ireland (1990-1997), and Tarja Halonen of Finland (2000-2012) have signed up. Former Prime Ministers Ameenah Gurib-Fakim of Mauritius (2015-2018), Luiz Lula da Silva of Brazil (2003-2011), Gordon Brown, the UK (2007-2010) and Hellen Clark of New Zealand (1999-2008), among others, have signed the moral petition. Business leaders Mo Ibrahim, the founder of Mo Ibrahim Foundation and Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, have signed up.

We – I have signed up – are petitioning richer countries to advance debt relief to the world’s poorest countries, allowing that precious money to save lives.