2.5 billion people in the Earth's 125 poorest countries have received zero vaccine doses. The 85 poorest countries are projecting full vaccination in 2023 or 2024. This isn't just a form of racist mass-killing, it's also a civilizational and species-wide risk.
Every infected person, after all, makes billions and billions of copies of the virus, and these copies are imperfect, producing mutations. Eventually, there will probably be a mutation so contagious that it bypasses vaccine defenses.
Worse, if the virus circulates widely enough for enough time, the likelihood that a mutant strain will emerge that is both more infectious *and* more deadly goes up and up.
A half-vaccinated world is like a swimming pool where only one end has a "no pissing" rule.
The global south does not have to go unvaccinated. Poor countries have vast vaccine production capacity: scientists, factories and knowledge. Some of the world's largest vaccine production facilities are in the global south.
What the global south lacks is a patent-free vaccine that can be domestically produced. Remember when Oxford promised that its vaccine would be open access so that it could be produced by poor and rich nations alike?
That dream died when the Gates Foundation - which cloaks monopolistic ideology in elite philanthropy - pressured the university to do an exclusive distribution deal with Astrazeneca.
Gates and Dean are the public face of a vast pharma lobbying effort to head off open access vaccines: more than 100 lobbyists are working DC right now, trying to get the US to oppose a WTO petition to grant emergency patent-waivers on covid vaccines.
Lobbying disclosures reveal that Big Pharma is paying key Democrat fundraisers, ex-US Trade Rep officials, and GOP power-brokers to fight the proposal, as Lee Fang reports for The Intercept.
The effort is transatlantic, too: a biotech pharma lobbyist repeated the racist lie about poor countries not being capable of manufacturing their own vaccines in The Economist:
The Economist editorial really tips the industry's hand, admitting that the industry's real concern is that if they are forced to subordinate their shareholders to the public good, it will raise questions about the whole pharma system.
After all, it's a system that does almost NO basic research, freeriding on publicly funded labs and generates absurd monopoly margins on its products by charging the public vast markups to buy the fruits of the work it subsidized.
These profits are rolled into lobbying projects that keep prices high AND shield pharma execs and investors from the consequences of faking their safety data and deceiving the public (as with the opioid epidemic).
The industry is so unreasonable that its lobbyists are left with idiotic talking points like: "giving up the IP could allow China and Russia to exploit platforms such as mRNA, which could be used for other vaccines or even therapeutics for conditions such as cancer and heart problems in the future."
Seriously, that's all you've got? We can't end #VaccineApartheid and save the 2.5b unvaccinated people and forestall a species-destroying supervariant because it might lead to...a cure for cancer and heart disease?
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