Covid Vaccines

If I ruled the whole world, not just my little enclave, I would do things very differently for the vaccine roll-out.  I would not consider where they were made, who can outbid the poorer countries, nor even the death rates as these are people who have passed out of consideration.  I would attack the virus by sending the available vaccines to the hot spots of new infections to halt it in its tracks before new variants emerge.  This was the model and plea of the WHO prior to any vaccines being released, but they were shouting into a storm and I am sure they knew that.  It is ironic that many of the rich countries are indeed among the most at need, like the US where new cases are 70,000 per day, Germany having a third wave etc.  So, as was quite predictable, there is an unseemly and desperate scramble to get hands on vaccine and the winners are……. the rich and powerful.  No surprise there.

And perhaps it is all in vain as the virus is likely to sprout so many variants that re-vaccination will be required in less than a year, long before most of the world is even vaccinated the first time.  This was brought home by an interview today with Dr Rochelle Walensky, the director of the CDC (Center for Disease Control in the US) who tossed the script and said she had “An impending sense of doom”.  As have many leading epidemiologists who see us on the losing side with this virus which has already mutated so many times.

I have decided not to seek a covid vaccine inoculation.  I have been eligible for a couple of weeks being a septuagenarian, but have been watching the roll-out world wide.  I am by no means an anti-vaxer, or have any doubts about the efficacy of the vaccines, it is just that I have seen the inequality of distribution.  It is mainly produced in rich countries and mainly distributed to rich countries.  That doesn’t come as much of a surprise.  This is not some self-sacrificing stance based on long-held beliefs in equality (well maybe a little bit), but some rational thinking that the virus has to be tackled first in the worst hit places to be able to knock it on the head.  I think it will be in my interests and Australia’s interests to tackle this as a worldwide problem, which it undoubtedly is, to send the vaccines to where they will do the most to control the virus.

As WHO feared and railed against even before the vaccines were available, the rich countries have snapped up the supplies, no doubt due to having more purchasing power.  It is also true that some of the countries most in need are the rich ones.  Europe and the US are having a torrid time dealing with continuing infection rates and in any equitable distribution system should enjoy some preference.  But many other places with major outbreaks, they are not able to get sufficient (or any) supply.  PNG springs to mind.  They have a serious outbreak and rudimentary medical facilities.  Well, we could congratulate ourselves with our minimal infection rates and send them a few doses to “do the right thing”, which we have done with I believe 8000 doses.  Actually, it would be in Australia’s interests, and mine, to send them a whole heap more to help contain the outbreak there.  Perhaps Scotty doesn’t realise that Australia extends to within 4 km of PNG.  Perhaps he doesn’t realise that due to PNG’s weak public health system, the infection rates and deaths will be hugely under reported.

I did my weekly shopping in Atherton today and it was a bit eerie.  Nearly everyone had masks on.  I haven’t seen any masks since April last year, and even then only 20% had them.  I was handed a mask at the entrance to Bunnings and told I wouldn’t be allowed in without one.  Had I missed some emergency health warning?  Perhaps, because just everybody had a mask on.  The supermarket didn’t enforce masks, but the bottle shop did.  Everybody stayed subdued and distant and for the first time I wore a mask.  I didn’t like it.  It was hot and suffocating and I could no longer read smiles or scowls and felt alienated from people by being no longer able to have communication by facial expressions.  I suppose most of you are much further down the track than I am, but it is a track I do not want to go down.

So, after brief glimmers of hope, I am back to my original ‘gloom and doom’ prognosis of Feb 2020, that this disease would be a “permanent scourge of mankind”.

Comments

  1. Peter says:

    Douglas Adams reckoned cats ran the Universe, but was that just a typo? Maybe the bats just lost patience with those of their number urging reliance on another Chicxulub and calculated also the potential bonanza of abandoned artificial caves offered by this method.

    • We both know it was rats, but both rats and bats are doing well under the present regime, so I don’t suspect either species instigated covid to eliminate mankind. However, there seems plenty of scope for conspiracy theories if you wish to start your own cult.

  2. I suppose it is now endemic, like flu.

    • It was obvious to me in Feb 2021 it was endemic, but nobody seemed prepared to say so. I think a blog of mine at that time included “it will become a permanent scourge of mankind”.

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