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Covid19 Vaccine Rollout and Global Inequality

Written By: - Date published: 7:46 am, February 2nd, 2021 - 24 comments
Categories: australian politics, chris hipkins, covid-19, Europe, uk politics, uncategorized - Tags:

This Covid19 global crisis will not be over for years.

Dr Clare Wenham an assistant professor of global health at the London School of Economics, said the Covid 19 pandemic will not be over until the world’s population is protected. “At the moment, the data is showing that it’s going to be 2023-24 before the global vaccines are distributed to everybody,” she said. “That’s a long time. And distributing some now might be able to get us back to normal life sooner.”

The UK is leading in Europe in vaccines given per capita, followed by Malta, Iceland, Serbia, and Denmark. Israel has now inoculated 20% of its population already.

The Australian government says it expects the first doses of the AstraZenica vaccine to be rolled out on schedule in March.

But what we’ve seen is that the European Union play hardball as promised and seek to deliver vaccines to its own first. No one wants shortages right?

Thankfully as of today we’ve seen the EU and in particular Ireland will enable doses to cross the Northern Ireland border.

Here’s the rollout plan for Australia.

Unlike the rest of the world, New Zealand has no need to rush this rollout. Minister Hipkins discusses it here.

Instead our government is waiting until Medsafe, the national medicine regulator, had scrutinised more data from yet-to-be-completed clinical trials of the vaccines to ensure that they were safe and effective. So we’re aiming for March to start our rollout.

According to Minister Hipkins that first batch will be used to inoculate border na MIQ workers, who are most at risk of contracting Covid19. Makes sense.

I’d definitely like a choice with some hard information about the efficacy differences between the choices of Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer, Glaxo, AstraZenica (and any other brand).

After that it will be largest immunisation programme we’ve ever had. Rollouts to pop-up clinics at supermarkets and petrol stations and car parks I presume.

But to that point at the top: 2023-2024 for a global rollout will put stark lines of demarcation between which populations can trade and travel easily, and those who can’t. While the rich nations worry about who is going to get theirs first in terms of months, the poor nations will see that social and economic damage last much longer.

As a global inequality driver, that makes the rollout probably bigger than the disease itself.

24 comments on “Covid19 Vaccine Rollout and Global Inequality ”

  1. Macro 1

    As a global inequality driver, that makes the rollout probably bigger than the disease itself.

    As it has always been. Wealth determines who gets what first, and National interests Trump (forgive the pun) Internationalism.

  2. Forget now 2

    I don't like the idea of personal choice in selection of vaccines, Ad. Think of; the evolution of antibacterial resistant bacteria that is plaguing medical systems worldwide (though that is getting less press; now that we have an actual viral plague to worry about). That is, in large part, due to; the overuse of antibiotics, which has allowed bacteria to develop resistance to these agents.

    Any use of a vaccine has to be; systematic and nationwide, if not; internationally coordinated (which, while desirable, is not politically possible). With other vaccines; held in reserve, for contingency use; if SARS-CoV-2 begins to evolve around that vaccine's immunity.

    This video is a good example of an organism's response to adaptive pressure. In this specific case; the E Coli bacterium to gradients of antibiotic concentration, but the principles are transferable to vaccine resistant viral evolution.

    • RedLogix 2.1

      It's already adapting to our control measures by becoming more infectious and more lethal.

      It's a most peculiar virus indeed.

      • Poission 2.1.1

        There are more deaths because it is more infectious,a higher rate of infection is a greater risk then a deadlier virus.

        • Forget now 2.1.1.1

          Saw this in Kucharski's thread after following up your link, Poisson:

      • Forget now 2.1.2

        How is that peculiar, RL? That's exactly what you'd expect, and what I have been warning anyone who'd listen for a year now:

        The more time a virus replicates, the greater the chance for a(n individually low-probability) viable mutation to occur. Which will either be; selected for, or against, by environmental pressures – in this case; human attempts at controlling SARS-CoV-2 infection rates.

  3. PhilA 3

    The vacine roll out could actually make things more difficult for us.

    The Pfizer vacine is about 92% effective, the AstraZeneca one about 70% effective.

    There was a recent report from the UK (where the Pfizer vacine is not licenced for use by children, who make up ~20% of the population) stating that even if all adults were given the Pfizer vacine and all children the AstraZeneca one this would not result in herd immunity (which means that an outbreak would grow rather than fizzle out).

    Thus, even in the unlikely event of a 100% vacine take up ~13% of the population will be vulnerable to covid-19.

    The situation would be worse if we have less than a 100% take up, or if an outbreak occurs whilst the vacinations are being performed. Especially so as the vacines do not prevent people from catching and potentially passing on the disease, only in reducing its severity. Vacinated people in a partially vacinated population are potentially asymptomatic carriers able to pass it on to those not yet vacinated, but are unlikely to be tested as they have no symptoms.

    On top of that, as far as I know, no one has yet looked at the efficacy of any of the vacines in preventing long covid.

    • Snape 3.1

      Not only is the virus FAR less dangerous to children than adults, children are also inefficient spreaders.

      Good news for third world nations where children often make up 1/2 the population.

      • PhilA 3.1.1

        Just look at the 8% of adults for whom the vacine will be ineffective.

        That is about 3000 deaths and around 15,000 cases of long covid (assuming all 8% catch it and 1% of them die and 5% of them get long covid) unless we continue to keep covid out after vacinating everyone.

        • Snape 3.1.1.1

          PhilA,

          “Just look at the 8% of adults for whom the vacine will be ineffective.”

          The 8% figure is fairly meaningless when taken by itself. For example, if 100% of the population is vaccinated, the 92% efficacy would drastically reduce the rate of spread, easily reaching herd immunity.

          • McFlock 3.1.1.1.1

            If half the local population are spreaders, even inefficient ones, then 8% of the other half are in deep shit.

            Sure, there will be clusters of immunity. There will likewise be clusters of extensive community transmission.

            And that's assuming that "FAR less dangerous to children" means "no danger at all" (it doesn't) and "even in the long term" (unknown).

            • Forget now 3.1.1.1.1.1

              That's the point where a comparison to influenza start to make sense, McFlock. We have learned to live with a surprisingly high death rate from endemic Influenza (& TB). Except for the people who don't, of course.

              I don't often bother with it, but the n in; nSARS-CoV-2 is important; designated the virus' novelty. Until we understand more about how the vaccines function in real-world populations; rather than limited (and rushed) scientific studies, then we can't be sure of anything yet.

              Hopefully some of those (hopefully as low 8% in real-world) who don't respond to; the Pfizer vaccine, may be protected by; the AstraZeneca, though I doubt that will be very close to 70%. Also, there is the problem of determining who has an insufficient response to the Pfizer before they get infected.

              • McFlock

                To put it bluntly, no we haven't learned to live with a high death rate from influenza or Tb.

                Both have been well controlled over recent decades.

                In a year, the USA has had almost 10% of its population get a confirmed case of covid. UK is on about 5%. That's with limited lockdowns and general inactivity as a response.

                So let's say 8% are vulnerable, and they affected at a similar rate to us/uk covid levels. 8% of 5mil is 400,000 people. 5% of that is 20,000 a year.

                Maybe the death rate for that would be in the ballpark of pneumonia and influenza combined (pneumonia is often a secondary infection to influenza). But then influenza really does almost exclusively kill pensioners, whereas covid is not so age-selective as the plan-b crowd would have us believe.

                Also, as far as we know global eradication of covid 19 might be as possible as with smallpox or polio. Unlike influenza or tb, where human-infecting strains have well-established animal reservoirs around the world so vaccines are as much about personal protection as population immunity.

  4. Incognito 4

    It may be in one of the links, but to get this pandemic down to something more manageable than the current situation will require ongoing vaccinations, booster shots, and development of new vaccines, on a yearly basis, much like dealing with the flu, which is now endemic. Maybe it is not too late to buy shares now; they’re a better bet than GameStop.

    • McFlock 4.1

      regardless of whether it's totally destroyed or just lowered to a stage where a bad year doesn't cripple ED and ICU in most countries, this is a multi-year situation.

      On the plus side, the billions thrown at research in response will have flow-on effects for diseases we all know and love. Bit like how the space race gave us velcro lol

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