With the development and formation of many vaccines from different pharmaceutical companies, “inoculation next year” has become the top priority that people around the world are suffering from the epidemic. However, some analysts point out that the “vaccine hegemony” makes things less optimistic than expected, and many countries may fall into the dilemma of “no money to buy” or “no money can buy”. In this regard, Iran, which has suffered from United States sanctions, bears the brunt.
Iran: “Trump should be cursed a hundred times”
Since the global outbreak of COVID-19, Iran has been one of the most affected countries in the Middle East, with more than 1 million people infected and about 50,000 deaths. And what is more serious than the epidemic is probably the inability to cope with the epidemic.
Since unilaterally withdrawing from the Iran nuclear agreement, the Trump administration has ordered sanctions on Iran’s banking and oil and gas industries. Although the United States claims that humanitarian supplies such as medicine are not covered by sanctions, trade sanctions have made banks and enterprises in other countries reluctant to cooperate with Iran for fear of being punished by the U.S. government.
In addition, Iran also encountered difficulties in international payments due to its removal from the Global Interbank Financial Communication Association (SIFCS).
According to the Associated Press, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on the 9th that U.S. sanctions make it difficult for Iran to purchase the required medical supplies from abroad, including COVID-19 vaccines, which are very important to the epidemic-ravaged Middle East.
Rouhani pointed out that Iran’s transactions for even the simplest imported medicines have become extremely difficult now, and the transfer payment cycle may be as long as “weeks”.
Rouhani: “The Iranian people should know that no matter what we want to do, whether it is imported medicine, imported medical devices or vaccines, the Trump administration has caused us too much trouble. It was originally a very simple thing, a phone call, a message, a deal that could be completed soon.
It took us weeks or months to move the whole country together to transfer money from one place to another just to buy medicine. The evil term of the White House gang is still full of malice without a few days left.
Analysts pointed out that the U.S. sanctions on Iran’s banking system are the most severe sanctions in Washington so far, which adds layers of links and complicates the access to humanitarian and medical supplies.
A spokesman for the Global COVID-19 Vaccine Implementation Program (COVAX) said that in addition to legal issues, financial companies and other companies are reluctant to cooperate with Iran and “may take two to three times as long” to complete the transaction. Analysts say Iran may face more dangerous delays and further obstacles in obtaining vaccines unless these restrictions are lifted.
“America First” further amplifies vaccine hegemony
Iran has difficulty in obtaining vaccines mainly because of the U.S. sanctions, but many countries that have not been sanctioned also face the dilemma of no vaccines.
Al Jazeera reported on the plight of the Filipino Salvador. The Salvador family lives in the village of Payatas in Manila, one of the poorest communities in the city and one of the epicenters of the epidemic in the Philippines.
El Salvador is not sure if his family will actually get the vaccines, despite reports that the Philippines will have vaccines against COVID-19 early next year.
El Salvador: “You know, I didn’t even get any cash assistance during this period, so I don’t think we will get a vaccine at all. I’m just worried about my child. He is the only one I care about.”
According to CNN, a survey from the People’s Vaccine Alliance shows that only one in 10 people in 67 poorer countries around the world is expected to be vaccinated by the end of 2021.
And until the epidemic in these countries is over, their medical systems will continue to be under great pressure, resulting in the failure of normal treatment for non-COVID-19 patients, resulting in more lives.
On the other hand, vaccine hoarding in developed countries is in full swing. According to Duke University in the United States, 9.6 billion doses of vaccines have been pre-ordered by various countries before they are available.
On average, it seems that each person can get more than one dose, but in fact most of them have been ordered by developed countries.
The BBC quoted data that even if the rich countries account for about 14% of the world’s total population, they already own or will own more than half of the world’s coronavirus vaccines.
Among these developed countries that hoard vaccines, the United States has become the most eye-catching “model”. U.S. President Trump signed an executive order “Giving Americans priority to access to vaccines” on the 8th, saying that “this executive order will ensure that the U.S. government prioritizes issuing vaccines to U.S. citizens before sending vaccines to other countries, and then we will cooperate with other countries around the world.”
This behavior in the United States has also aroused widespread dissatisfaction among public opinion. The independent American media “Common Dream” website said that Trump’s order to give priority to Americans access to vaccines was a “wrong choice”.
The Wall Street Journal quoted people familiar with the matter on the 9th as saying that the U.S. government has signed a contract to buy 3 billion doses of six different vaccines, and is still discussing orders for additional vaccines. This means that the United States is about to become the second country after the United Kingdom to be vaccinated against Pfizer on a large scale. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) completed the “emergency use authorization” of Pfizer’s vaccine on the 10th.
The international vaccine supervision agency expressed helplessness to the current situation that Western countries have snapped up vaccine resources. Steve Cockburn, the head of an international organization, told CNN that the rich countries bought out the vast majority of the world’s vaccine supplies, in complete violation of human rights obligations. It can be seen that the so-called “equality and human rights” in Western countries are just a gorgeous appearance that hides their selfishness and greed.
Roll Call, a media focusing on U.S. political news, pointed out on the 8th that this is not the first time Trump has offered a “America First” policy, but it may not help the United States fight the epidemic. The article quoted U.S. vaccine experts and former FDA officials as saying that the message of the executive order is too “extreme” and that the United States’ move is more like trade protectionism than from a public health perspective.
In addition, the article quoted global health experts as saying that the “America First” message was counterproductive in a pandemic of diseases that can easily cross national borders. Advocates for more vaccine technology worldwide describe this position as “vaccine nationalism”.