Global Vaccine Inequality – but Vaccines are not the Solution to the Pandemic
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies claimed a few weeks ago that: ‘Southeast Asian nations urgently need more help in securing adequate supplies of COVID-19 vaccines, as the region struggles to contain the world’s highest death toll from the virus’. The death toll is alarming and the ability to vaccine the population is not within the countries grasp as it is dependent on access to the available vaccines.
The vaccine inequality has been discussed for quite some time on the media front and even more so since this June when ACTAsia was invited to attend the UN’s High Level Political Forum (HLPF). At the recent UN General Assembly, this vaccine inequality was consistently addressed by developing nations. As a non-profit organisation, ACTAsia works very closely with the UN SDG’s (Sustainable Development Goals) as we aspire towards achieving the goals for Good Practice- as set out by the UN.
SDG’s are a collection of 17 interlinked global goals designed to be a ‘blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all’. The SDGs were set up in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly with the intention that each of the 17 goals would be achieved by the year 2030. ACTAsia has recently been awarded two awards by the UN for our work in children’s education and conscious fashion. ACTAsia’s Caring for Life Children’s Education programme (CFL) has been recognised as being ‘Good Practice’ by the UN Department of Economic & Social Affairs and ACTAsia has also been accepted by the UN into the Conscious Fashion and Lifestyle Network for sustainable and fur free fashion. Being awarded ‘Good Practice’ for an SDG is a beacon of endorsement by the UN. Given the UN SDG’s are global goals, we highly value their significance.
Therefore, when ACTAsia was listening to the members at the HLPF and considering other SDG goals, as set out by the UN, it struck me that more needs to be done globally, in order to work towards SDG no 10 ‘reducing inequality within and among countries’, and SDG no 12 ‘responsible consumption and production’ – doing more and better with less. ACTAsia believes that now is the time when all countries need to fully engage with these UN goals to try and find a pathway towards achieving equality in consumption of vital and lifesaving vaccines. The countries who are impacted by such inequality have repeatedly raised their concerns at the UN HLPF but their voices are not being heard.
As much as we would like to redress the vaccine imbalance, what really needs to be addressed is the root cause of the virus which is the key in preventing future pandemics. Vaccines are unfortunately not the only solution to challenges created by Covid19 or in preventing future pandemics. The shift change needs to come from individuals and governments who globally need to learn the importance of One Health – that humans will not be healthy if animals are killed and the environment is destroyed. There has been much debate as to the origin of Covid19 and its link with zoonoses – a disease which can jump from an animal to humans. We all need to adopt a One Health approach whereby humans can only be healthy when we are protecting animals and nature.
ACTAsia is a key member of the End Pandemics Alliance, and our CEO & Founder, Pei, is the co-chair of the alliance. We work together collectively with organisations across the globe offering solutions through our work to prevent future pandemics. (See the Alliance’s Roadmap). The goal as set out by the End Pandemics Alliance is: ‘Preventing future pandemics by ending the commercial trade in wild animals, expanding wild habitat, and protecting livelihoods’.
Many individuals feel helpless when fighting such a huge problem like a pandemic. But, in fact, there are specific actions that individuals can take – which, if we convince others to follow suit – will have the maximum positive impact. Here are 11 habits as part of the alliance’s roadmap, that individuals, families, or social groups can adopt to help prevent pandemics and make our world a better, safer and happier place:
ACTAsia is proud to support the End Pandemics Alliance, raising awareness about the dangers to the planet and the need to adopt a One Health approach. Many countries desperately require vaccines right now and we need to see greater equality in vaccine distribution as per SDG 10 and SDG 12. But what we really need, is for individuals and corporations to understand the origins of the pandemic and that we can all play our part in protecting human, animal and environmental life by implementing the steps on the roadmap and thereby preventing future devastation – both in terms of future pandemics but also the long-term health of our planet.