Wealthy countries are offering low- and middle-income countries vaccine “crumbs”, so that they can protect their billionaires, their pharmaceutical lobbies and their campaign contributions, argues a prominent American economist.
At the recent G7 Summit of the richest industrialised countries, the United States and its European allies promised a billion vaccine doses for use in low- and middle-income countries by 2022.
But a host of prominent critics have cast doubts on the sincerity of the offer.
According to Agnès Callamard, Secretary-General of Amnesty International, even if all one billion come in over the course of 2022, it would be a “drop in the ocean”, made of “paltry half-measures and insufficient gestures”.
James K. Galbraith, a prominent US economist from the University of Texas, says instead of “getting the hoarded stockpile into arms all around the world”, the West is protecting the vested interests of its corporations.
“Today, Africa and India have vaccinated barely 3 per cent of their combined populations of about 2.5 billion people.
Why is that? The US alone is reputed to have the capacity to produce 4.7 billion doses by the end of 2021 – four billion more than America needs,” he said.
“Where are those doses going? Apparently, to wealthy customers. This includes 1.8 billion doses committed to the EU for ‘booster shots’.
“The US and Europe are offering crumbs, protecting their billionaires, their pharmaceutical lobbies, and their politicians’ campaign contributions”.