Developed Countries Must Come Together Quickly To Overcome the Vaccine Shortage

Amid the global shortage of COVID-19 vaccines, differences over solutions between the U.S. and the European Union, which hold the key to resolving them, are becoming clear. Unlike U.S. President Joe Biden, who supported the exemption of intellectual property rights for vaccines, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron expressed skepticism. Merkel said, “The limiting factor for the production of vaccines are manufacturing capacities and high quality standards, not the patents”; Macron argued, “the main issue for solidarity is the distribution of doses.”

EU leaders are confronting the U.S., which bans exports of vaccines and exports of raw materials. Although it is due to internal and external pressure that the vaccine monopoly is inhumane and anti-diplomatic, it is clear that Biden’s decision to support the exemption of intellectual property rights is a breakthrough in the discussion of increasing vaccine production. However, due to the complex discussion structure, it is expected to take months to exempt intellectual property rights, and many countries do not have the technology and facilities to manufacture vaccines, raising questions about whether it will be an effective means to resolve the shortage. Of course, it is clear that EU countries’ criticism of the Biden-type solution is based on the complex context of guaranteeing the interests of their pharmaceutical companies.

Even so, conflicts between developed countries over solutions should not deepen. Developed countries such as the United States, where 150 million people have been vaccinated, and the EU, which is preparing to welcome tourists during the summer vacation season, are preparing for daily recovery while less than 1% of the world’s 29 poorest countries have been vaccinated worldwide. If developed countries that monopolize vaccines fail to reach a compromise on short-term gains and losses, the timing of the world’s escape from the COVID-19 disaster will inevitably be delayed. It is urgent to come up with a compromise between developed countries that can overcome the global shortage of vaccines.

About this publication

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply