• Tuesday, Jan 31, 2023
  • Last Update : 10:24 am

Study: Vaccine nationalism affecting developing and under-developed countries

  • Published at 08:20 am August 13th, 2021
Representational Photo: Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka tribune

The report recommends local production to vaccine to reduce dependency on the west

Bangladesh should gear up on the co-production and local production of the Covid-19 vaccines as some rich countries are stockpiling Covid-19 shots more than they need, says a report. 

The report titled ‘Center for Genocide Studies Peace Report, an initiative of Bangladesh Peace Observatory’, by Center for Genocide Studies suggested was published on August 10. 

Professor of International Relations and Director of Centre for Genocide Studies at University of Dhaka Imtiaz Ahmed told Dhaka Tribune the government should go for coproduction to secure the supply of vaccines to inoculate as many people as possible. 

In his editorial in the report, he noted “...it remains a puzzle as to why the Serum Institute of India could not supply the much-required 1.5 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines to Bangladesh in the last three months to cover those who had only one shot and needed the second jab, which would have been only 500,000 doses per month.”

He also pointed out that some people are concerned about the efficacy of the Chinese vaccines and that is irrational. 

“It stemmed from the colonial mindset I assume. Many people in this part of the world tend to believe that anything coming from the West is better than everything else,” he told the correspondent.

In his article ‘Covid-19 Vaccine Diplomacy: A New Foreign Policy Imperative,’ former foreign secretary Shahidul Haque said that Covid-19 vaccine production and distribution is likely to have impacts not only on the market and health but also on the geopolitical order, particularly in Asia.

The Covid-19 vaccine is more of a “geopolitical good” rather than a “public good”, he said in his paper. 

Meanwhile, Lailufar Yasmin, professor of the Department of International Relations at Dhaka University focuses on vaccine nationalism in her paper. 

She told Dhaka Tribune that the vaccine hoarding for Western citizens and for its further use as booster doses, as this might be repeatedly needed like the flu shots, have created a new type of colonialism, that is vaccine colonialism. 

“The world is but one community irrespective of where we live because of complex interdependence, especially when it comes to diseases and environmental issues. Under these circumstances, I find that the Western countries have little moral authority to talk about human rights issues when they themselves are only concerned about ensuring protection for their own citizens and creating divisions among people,” she said. 

This will prolong the crisis, which today or tomorrow will affect Western countries as well, she told the correspondent. 

A report by anti-poverty campaigners found that rich countries have over a billion more doses of Covid-19 vaccines than they need, leaving poorer nations scrambling for leftover supplies as the world seeks to curb the coronavirus pandemic, reports Reuters. 

The Center for Genocide Studies report recommended that for the lower-income community immunisation from Covid-19, the health authorities are required to deploy field level health workers to raise awareness among the community about the importance of vaccination in Bangladesh. 

The report pointed out that the motives behind the lack of interest in taking the vaccine were registration dilemma, fear and suspicion, information and communication gap, lack of mass outreach, absence of lower income community, and age restriction.

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