Views on the News: Vaccine nationalism, Big Pharma and the distribution vacuum in India
On Tuesday, April 27, India reported 320,000 new COVID-19 cases and 2,771 deaths, as a second COVID-19 wave ravaged the country's healthcare system. The Indian government has responded to the crisis by restricting its own exports of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has had drastic repercussions on impoverished nations. Last week, President Biden defended the current ban on exports of raw materials used in vaccines in response to urgent requests to lift it, citing obligations to prioritize vaccinating the American population first.
In a recent turn of events, the Biden Administration proposed a plan to export up to 60 million AstraZeneca doses to India when available, and countries such as the UK have sent ventilators and additional medical equipment to assist in navigating the catastrophe. In light of the situation, some physicians have alluded to ‘vaccine nationalism’ — when nations procure doses on behalf of national interests at the expense of other countries. How does vaccine nationalism or pandemic profiteering factor into the current nature of global and domestic vaccine distributions, if at all?
Many of our own community also have loved ones in the impacted area. At a local level, how can the Brandeis administration and faculty support South Asian students at this time?