Vaccine Nationalism is Apartheid

By Alexander Opicho
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On 9th January 2021,the European Union Agency for Emergency Diseases announced that it was set to carry out vaccination of European citizens against covid-19 to an extent of 8% of the total population of the citizens of the countries in the European Union . This means that during first two months of the 2020, the European Union is set to carry out vaccination of three hundred and eight million people living in the countries that belong to the European Union. The united Kingdom already has vaccinated over a million people in the UK, in the same way the United States of America had also already vaccinated over a million people. But, it is so despairing that the African Union , the African countries had not started the anti covid-19 vaccination exercise by this time . The idea was that , Western Countries were to finish vaccination exercise in their respective countries before they could begin selling the left over doses of vaccines to Africa.

<>So far Africa does not have local capacity and technology as well as necessary human capital useful in manufacturing of the covid-19 vaccines. Thus, it is outright that some Western powers have in one way or another embarked on malice of perpetrating covid-19 vaccine nationalism to exclude populations of Africa from prompt and early vaccination against covid-19.

The universal statistics of covid-19 infection is usually presented by the media to be higher in Europe than in Africa. However, this is a fallacy coming from poor media coverage. The actual level or rate of infection of covid-19 in Africa is just as high as in America and Europe, but Africa's dominantly youthful population has not registered high rates of death. This does not thus, justify deliberately delayed vaccination of Africa's population. This delayed vaccination is only done out of selfish political policy of regional and racial based exclusion known as vaccine nationalism.

Another façade of vaccine nationalism was also expressed by the President of World Health Organization (WHO) who shared out that Western countries are likely to over price the covid-19 vaccines so that African countries are likely to be unable to buy the vaccines or if at all they buy the vaccines on credit then the African countries will end up getting into a foreign debt trap which they can not be able to settle comfortably. All these are happening because Africa is an absolute dependant on the Western countries for emergency medical technology.

But this is not the first time Western Countries are excluding Africa from emergency medical care through bad politics of vaccine nationalism. There was a lot of palpable pretense and political malice among the Western countries when it came to vaccination and treatment of HIV in Africa. Since its out break , vaccination against HIV has been marred with hideous form of medical nationalism. It has been expressed through recurrent malice in form of international politics which left Africa to buckle under full-scale burden of HIV load for three decades. Only for noticeable kind of political dissembling among the Western powers later on had the vaccines in form of ARV to be brought about . Unfortunately, this was the time when Africa had already lost three quarters of its youthful and professional population to the HIV virus.

This is also the kind of moral texture that have guided the Western political and humanitarian cultures in regard to vaccination of African populations against Hepatitis B, Malaria, Ebola and Snake bites.

In some text books of Research Methods there is an example of deviance to research ethics about the famous syphillis vaccine trial in the United States of America where a sample of black American populations were first infected with syphillis causing microbes so that a vaccine can be tested. But later on those infected with the syphillis bacteria were left without being treated. Yes, this happened under the context of American politics of racism, but it was also beautiful example of vaccine nationalism.

There is no any other explanation of vaccine nationalism other than looking at it as a form of Apartheid. Systematic delay or Denying a human being emergency medical treatment on the basis of racial, tribal, nationalist or regional as well as class identity can not have any other name other than 'vaccine nationalism'. This type of exclusion perfectly works as a modern political tool of transnational Apartheid.

By-Alexander Opicho
From-Lodwar,Kenya.
[email protected]

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Alexander Opicho and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."