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The European Union and the United States evaded vaccination responsibilities

For the second time in less than a month, the world’s richest nations have given a pat on the back, promising to donate a few doses instead of a very few to countries still exposed, and ignoring the demands of civil society and society. Who is the

Speaking via video conference at the “Global COVID-19 Summit” on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, Draghi announced yesterday that Italy will donate 45 million doses to the poorest countries by the end of 2021, and it has been announced that efforts will triple so far – The expectation was in fact to donate 15 million doses, mainly through the COVAX mechanism. The Prime Minister acknowledged that there were still “significant disparities” in the distribution of vaccines and that “one of the weaknesses in the global response to the pandemic is the insufficient coordination between health and financial authorities.”
“We must increase our preparedness for future pandemics” by increasing “the production capacity of vaccines and health tools around the world, especially in the most vulnerable countries,” Draghi said. Donations will primarily consist of AstraZeneca doses not distributed to regions. And so Italy adds its timid commitment to the equally inadequate commitments to other Western countries: although it has tripled, the Italian effort is in fact negligible compared to the billions of people around the world who have not yet received a vaccine.

At the same time, despite the opposition of the World Health Organization, our country is rapidly progressing in the administration of third doses: on the first day a little more than 3 thousand were vaccinated. Expanding the program to the general population is only a matter of time: Undersecretary Celery said it’s still too early to talk about it, but surely the third dose “will be for everyone.” The same opinion is shared by the advisor to Minister Esperanza Walter Ricciardi, according to which the recall of all will be periodic, starting from next year.

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However, the administration of third doses in rich countries poses serious ethical problems because the poor are not vaccinated. Earlier this month, G20 health ministers met in Rome and signed a declaration that does not open up the possibility of suspending patents, but plans to “strengthen the resilience of supply chains, to increase and diversify global, local and regional production capacity for vaccines”, with a particular focus on low- and middle-income countries. . The unanimously signed “Rome Charter” is an 11-page document divided into 33 points that focuses on multilateral cooperation for a “healthy and sustainable” post-pandemic recovery. Point 7 reaffirms the goal of vaccinating 40% of the world’s population by the end of 2021 – an expression that doesn’t mean much: according to the data collected from Our World of Data, 40.4% of the world’s population has already received at least one service, but it’s 40% richer. In low-income countries, the percentage of those who received at least one dose is stable at 1.8%.

Instead, the day before yesterday, Joe Biden organized a summit where, like other times, he combined bombastic rhetoric with extremely timid actions in the face of the massive dimensions of the crisis. Biden opened the summit by noting two emergency situations: the ability to vaccinate the rest of the world, and a solution to the global oxygen crisis, which is causing more deaths among those who could have been saved. “We cannot solve this crisis with half-measures or modest ambitions, we have to think big,” the president said. Unfortunately, those provided by the United States are actually half-measures: the United States has promised to donate 1.1 billion doses – a very low number to vaccinate the 5.4 billion doses still without a vaccine – but by the end of the year it will provide about 300 million doses. , allowing 150 million people to be vaccinated. The document released by the White House betrays false international promises: it reads a commitment to reach 70% of the world’s population, and to do so quickly – the goal by the end of the year is to vaccinate 40% of the population.

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Meanwhile, the suspension of vaccine patents appears to have fallen out of public discourse in the West. In an interview with Fanpage, pro-Democratic doctor Vittorio Agnoletto asks if “in the contracts signed by the European Commission with pharmaceutical companies, there are clauses obligating any donations with the consent of the companies themselves.” Agnoletto also points an accusing finger at the secrecy of contracts concluded between European authorities and vaccine producers – an unknown factor that weighs on the leaders of European institutions, who decided to ignore the situation on vaccine patents expressed by the European Parliament itself. .

The truth is that the European authorities defend the pharmaceutical companies without any condition or reservations – even when they suffer from real fraud on their part. Example? The special agreement between the company, the European Commission and AstraZeneca resulted in a commitment to introduce more doses in early September – which is exactly what AstraZeneca has proven it can’t do. The renewed agreement provides for the delivery of 60 million doses by the end of the third quarter of this year – or by the end of the month – 75 million doses by the end of the year, and another 65 million doses by the end of the first quarter. 2022. Commissioner Stella Kyriakides enthusiastically tweeted the news, speaking of an agreement that “satisfies both parties.” That does not appear to be the case: according to background written by Hannah Kochler for the Financial Times, the agreement came as soon as the European Commission withdrew its claim for damages against the company, which would have amounted to billions of euros – €10 per day per dose for each day of delay.

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On the cover: photo CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0 IT Presidency of the Council of Ministers

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