Monday, February 15, 2021

Who is keeping secrets?

 There are many media articles condemning the Chinese secrecy over the origins in Wuhan of the COVID-19 outbreak. They are accused of suppressing data concerning it and the local and national officials handling of it. Such lack of transparency has led to a number of conspiracy theories.

In contrast, the secrecy and with-holding of information by the pharmaceutical companies is treated as normal custom and practice regardless to the risk to lives patents and intellectual ownership creates. 

Wealthy nations and the vaccine manufacturers are engaged in contract disputes over supplies. Nations compete with one another for commitment by the drug corporations to fulfil their advance orders for the vaccines. 

Rich countries have ordered enough doses to vaccinate their populations three times over, while 9 in 10 people in nearly 70 poorer countries are unlikely to be vaccinated at all this year. We know that when it comes to Covid infection and prevalence, nobody is safe until we are all safe. But the efforts of almost every rich country to secure vaccines reminds us of first-class passengers receiving privileged treatment.

Getting the vaccine to the world's poor will require an approach based on solidarity rather than competition. 

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