Global RiskNews Briefs

Race for virus vaccine could leave some countries behind

As wealthy countries are racing to find a COVID-19 vaccine, some are placing advance orders for the inevitably limited supply to guarantee vaccines for their citizens, leaving controversy over whether developing countries will have access to the medicine in time. The United Nations, National Red Cross, and Red Crescent stated that it was morally imperative that every country has access to the vaccine. However, this statement disregards the fact that vaccine production will likely face several drawbacks and supplies will be limited, resulting in the distribution being inequitable and messy.

Yuan Qiong Hu, senior legal and policy advisor at Doctors Without Borders, stated that few measures have been taken to resolve problems brought up by health staff over achieving fair distribution. Hu stated that historically, companies would often apply for patents over every step of the vaccine’s development and production. However, COVID-19 presents a high risk of a second wave, and therefore this practice has largely been ignored.

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