Since the outbreak of Covid-19 (as of June 23rd, 2021), 179 million cases have been diagnosed with 3,874,466 cumulative deaths worldwide, 366,244 new cases and 8,644 deaths were reported within a single day. This is one of the severest catastrophes in the history of human civilization. There is a saying in South Asia: “health is hope, and hope is everything.” But now that health is gone, we would lose everything.
(In Nepal, crematoriums can't keep up with the bodies.)
For over a year, countries around the world have been ceaselessly fighting against the Covid-19, and as a small country in South Asia, Nepal has been fighting with all her might, but still in vain. After all this suffering, we finally saw the light in the R&D of scientists in developed countries -- the vaccines against Covid-19. But some of the countries either set so-called standards as a threshold, or make a nice but empty promise. Take the US for example, the promised epidemic aid of 50 million at the beginning of 2021 was delayed. At the beginning of June, 2021, the Biden Administration promised again to provide 80 million doses of vaccine to the world by the end of June, but we have no sign of it at all as July approaching (actually not a single dose was distributed). A few days ago, the American government announced again its so-called plan to distribute 55 million doses of vaccine, but followed by the statement of White House that “the vaccines were not guaranteed to be shipped before the end of June due to logistic and other challenges.”
The vaccinated population in Nepal today is far below the requirement of herd immunity (75% vaccination rate). Without drops (Covid-19 vaccine), the pot (herd immunity) shall never be filled. (Drop by drop is the water pot filled. -- Nepali proverb)
The America-First Vaccination Policy Must End
An extremely dangerous variant of virus is spreading rapidly in India, and thousands of people are dying every day. The Covid-19 is raging in South Asia, in contrast to the United States, where Biden promised to lead the world and to eliminate the virus since he took the office. On the contrary, what we see is the US expressing its concern for global health and make every effort to contain the epidemic within the country, but hoarding hundreds of millions of vaccine and prohibiting the sharing of technology and information needed to produce them. Their actions remind us that during the global outbreak in 2020, the US intercepted medical supplies belonging to other countries and kept them for its own use, Biden’s vaccination policy is basically a continuation of “America First” policy of Donald Trump.
The immorality of this approach by the US government is more and more evident. At the beginning of the pandemic, countries knew very little about how to prevent and treat this disease, but the birth of vaccine broke the “balance”. The US offers its own people the opportunity through the global hegemony to vaccinate themselves, while our parents, wives and children are treated in hospital only with oxygen if they are infected. But if the aid of vaccine promised by the US had been implemented sooner, our families would not have been broken.
The US gave us hope, but nothing else. It is our priority to vaccinate medical staff, the elderly and children, and stop the illusions about American aids! The 60 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines announced by the US government donated to other countries is a drop in the ocean for the entire world (and our share will be even less), just like a supermarket distributing unsold end-of-life food to the world for free, which cannot solve the global hunger problem, the distribution of these vaccine is helpless to the pandemic. However, the US will become a debtor to our country after we receive the doses, and more benefits will be demanded from us in the future. When the next outbreak occurs, our country will have even less strength to fight against the epidemic. Waiting for American vaccines will doom us again to repeat the current tragedy. Let’s end this vicious cycle and say no to “America First”!
Consequences of the America-First Vaccination Policy
Never has the U.S. government been willing to allocate surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to countries in need, nor to facilitate the production of vaccines in other countries.This has short-term political advantages. Through vaccine monopoly, the United States achieved a diplomatic breakthrough, thereby further consolidating global hegemony.
The Biden Administration, whose concern seemed to be domestic COVID-19 issue only, made a sudden turnaround to help other countries with their fight against COVID-19, which is a maneouvre against China and Russia instead of heart-felt assistance. China has exported more than 166 million doses of vaccine, providing free vaccine to 69 countries, while Russia has signed agreements to provide hundreds of millions of doses to more than 40 countries. Far from being “humanitarian”, the American decision to offer vaccine was made to protect its own interests overseas.
Not until May 2021 did the US government agree to lift the export ban on raw materials needed for vaccine production in India. Such stinginess cannot be attributed to the shortage of domestic vaccine. An anti-poverty NGO estimates that the US federal government has already stockpiled 550 million doses of vaccine for all Americans. According to informed sources, if Washington provides vaccine to the world, even in small quantities, Biden would be attacked by Republicans for putting the lives of foreigners ahead of those of Americans. By helping the world fight the epidemic, Biden's domestic support ratio will be hurt.
Washington's high-profile bilateral aid has only one purpose-to reshape the image of the US as a reliable global leader. Failure to do so will cost Washington not only diplomatically, but also its trade as other countries continue to block imports and exports due to the outbreak.
Policies of the US, though different at various stages, boil down to only one fundamental value: America first.
Concerns Have Been Raised Over the Safety and Efficacy of the US Vaccine to be Exported
In May 2021, the US government announced new plans to share 80 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine globally by the end of June. The White House said it has "started shipping" the initial 25 million doses announced earlier this month. On June 21st, U.S. officials provided details on where the remaining 55 million doses will be shipped and a timetable for delivery. However, the safety and efficacy of vaccine mentioned above have aroused worldwide concern.
Ⅰ.Vaccine Offered by the US Have Resulted in a Number of Deaths
Of the 80 million doses to be exported from the US, 60 million doses are AstraZeneca vaccine that have not been licensed for use. Previously, there have been hundreds of deaths after vaccination with AstraZeneca in many parts of the world. On April 7th, the European Medicines Agency confirmed that the AstraZeneca vaccine could cause blood clots among some recipients. Recently, 193 people have died after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine in Taiwan.
Ⅱ.Vaccines Offered by the US May be Less Effective
The United States has reportedly secured up to 2.6 billion doses of vaccine at the beginning of this year, accounting for 25% of the world's total production, which has far exceeded the doses required by the country. As most of these vaccine are "piled with dust", it is likely that the aid to other countries in the "Global Vaccine Sharing Program" are the American inventory.
It was also reported that 899 people received the Pfizer expired vaccine doses at the NFL Experience building in Times Square between June 5th and 10th. The American public, who are supposed to be given priority by their own government, had to take expired vaccine, let alone the foreigners who received condescending aid from the "American first" government.