Debate Prep: Should wealthy countries should prioritize vaccinating themselves at the expensive of developing countries?
America now administers more than 2 million doses of various COVID vaccines to its residents, far more than any other country in the world. Criteria for vaccine eligibility in the US are widening state by state, and the Biden administration announced a goal for all American adults to be eligible for inoculation by May 1, a target that experts believe will be met. But this rosy picture of vaccination statistics and trajectories translates to few other countries, especially in the developing world and Global South. As of Thursday, only 36 of the 54 African countries had received any vaccine doses at all. WHO chief Tedros Ghebreyesos told press last week that "most African countries do not have anywhere near enough vaccines to cover all health workers or all at risk groups," people who have long since been phased through vaccination in the US. Meanwhile, Brazil finds itself near its all-time peak of case diagnoses, and only 7.8% of the population is considered immune via vaccination.
This week, Political Union will ask whether developed countries - the US among them - should prioritize vaccinating itself at the expense of developing countries. This places the status quo in opposition to slowing down vaccination here, and sending more vaccines abroad. Below are some resources you might find useful as you prepare for the debate:
Background on Vaccine Statistics and Allocation:
A primer on current vaccine donation efforts [14 mins]
A visualization of global vaccination data from Our World in Data [interactive chart]
Reporting on the US’s shipment of vaccines to Canada and Mexico in mid-March [7 mins]
A review of the challenges in funding vaccine development, and suggestions for reform [21 mins]
An argument in Foreign Policy hoping to convince the Biden administration to send more vaccines abroad [12 min read]
A paper in Clinical Ethics, an academic journal, analyzing barriers to access to vaccines for individuals and recommending a strategy on allocation to the developing world [20 min read]
An ethical defense of providing special access or preference (with vaccines or otherwise) to in-group populations, like other citizens of the same country [long read]
A critical reflection on the Biden administration’s recent pledge to ship 4 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Canada and Mexico [10 mins]
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