Opinion and Editorial

KT edit: Human greed is making the pandemic worse

Filed on April 27, 2021 | Last updated on April 27, 2021 at 12.08 am

Lockdowns are, therefore, the last resort for governments who want to keep the wheels of industry running while saving jobs and careers.

No one is safe until everyone is safe during the pandemic. And safety lies in the numbers of vaccinated people across the world. Others gain immunity through infection which prevents the spread of coronavirus. Community transmission must be stopped at the earliest through social behaviour like maintaining distancing, personal hygiene and through government action that keeps people apart from each other through lockdowns and curfews. Last year, lockdowns were the answer to a rapidly spreading new virus with no vaccines in sight. This year is different with jabs by various manufacturers being produced and being jabbed into people’s arms. Lockdowns are, therefore, the last resort for governments who want to keep the wheels of industry running while saving jobs and careers. The solution is within arm’s reach but what is needed is patience, for vaccines to do their work contain while people doing their bit to check the contagion.

While vaccination campaigns are gathering speed in most of the developed world, populations in large swathes of Africa and the Middle East are yet to begin mass inoculation programmes. Countries like India, meanwhile, have slipped in the behavioural aspect; throw in some ignorance during a two-month lull in cases and they are now paying the price for failing to follow the science and the process that the pandemic has forced upon us. What must be understood here is that the virus and the pandemic are still here, the danger is near and present, and it will be so in the foreseeable future until at least 70 per cent of the global population is vaccinated. But the world’s largest vaccine-maker has problems of its own and has sunk a health abyss that threatens its hospitals and healthcare centres. Beds are in short supply, oxygen is running out for those severely affected, and there’s a growing black market that has made life-saving medicines ten-times expensive and beyond reach of the poor and middle class.

The strain is showing on the country of 1.3 billion and it’s important for the world to ensure there is enough supply of vaccines for the poor starting with India. Vaccine equity should be the priority for governments yet countries like the United States are hoarding their stock as they brace for another surge in cases. When that might be one cannot tell, but delays in vaccinating the less fortunate would mean the pathogen will continue to circulate among populations. Variants of concerns then emerge and vaccines could lose their potency if these mutating variants grow more spikes to evade them. Human greed is making the virus more dangerous and it’s time to share vaccines to populations in need. Further delays could lead to a health disaster of epic proportions.

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