The Danger of Vaccine Nationalism

Vaccine Nationalism

The Danger of Vaccine Nationalism

Vaccine wars illustration, Image by MoneyWeek

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light the disparities that globalisation can produce. This can be seen in the global-north countries’ stockpiling of supplies and vaccine nationalism. This has reduced what was once a global pandemic to a third-world problem. The situation in which this happens demonstrates that globalisation and nationalism are incompatible. In times of crisis, such as the current epidemic, nationalism will triumph over the notion that globalization is the way of the future.

Globalisation is a world systems concept that requires governments to have interrelationships in terms of markets, goods, services, and technologies, including medical technologies. This has not been the case with the epidemic, despite the efforts of organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure that supplies are allocated evenly based on need and demand. The role of globalisation in the transmission of the virus, as well as vaccine nationalism and how it will inform post-covid-19 globalisation, will be examined in this article.

According to Khan (2020), the WHO has raised concern about the vaccine deals that wealthy countries have been able to acquire. As a result, a phenomenon known as “Vaccine Nationalism” will emerge. The unequal distribution of much-needed vaccines between countries in the global north and south is referred to as vaccine nationalism. As a result, countries with insufficient resources miss out on the available vaccination supply. Vaccine nationalism is a developmental issue because it reinforces inequality in a world system that is already unjust. Apart from inequality, it has a number of negative consequences, including high mortality and illness rates in under-resourced and over-populated countries.

The concerns lie with governments who get an early start to the vaccine race because of their position in the world system.  Other dangers include the creation of dependency and the possibility of turning what was initially a worldwide pandemic into a third world problem, once the first world nations have fully vaccinated with additional stock.

Mutations of the virus in non-vaccinated areas will occur and cause further burdens on continents such as Africa, which already face poor health infrastructure and technologies. The African continent has a multiplicity of challenges relating to health, according to Ruger and Yach (2009), which are yet to be addressed and cannot afford to fight this pandemic at all. I agree with the viewpoint that unequal vaccination distribution is short-sighted and has global ramifications. Khan contends that the COVAX facility as well as the WHO are complicit in this sort of nationalism that disadvantages some states. This is seen as one of the problems with the globalisation of healthcare, as it does not afford everyone equal access to healthcare.

#universityofpretoria #worldhealthorganisation

The Development Team

Content Writer:       Oratile Mangwane (Honours student, University of Pretoria)         

Content Reviewer:   Lunga Dweba         

The GI ADVISORY is a research-based security firm, whose primary purpose is to contribute to safer communities and world order.  For more information about international security analysis and services, please subscribe to our website.

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  1. Fika - September 11, 2021 Reply

    This pandemic is already moving faster from being a worldwide pandemic to be a third world problem (I agree), this has been observed mostly in business operations and inequality within the educational sector.
    Also impacting on individual well-being in general.

    • admin - September 20, 2021 Reply

      Thank you for your input.

  2. Mukona Sinthumule - September 12, 2021 Reply

    Wow, Great perspective!

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