Should the United States pay for the world’s Covid vaccine.
Quintus Horatius Flaccus The Philosopher Horace:
“Nam tua res agitur, paries cum proximus ardet.” It is your concern when your neighbor’s wall is on fire.
Talking with friends and family in different countries, I was surprised to hear how many have not yet received a COVID vaccine, yet we are still facing a global pandemic. As Americans, we tend to think of things as if on a unilateral, English-speaking globe… but that is not the world. It is made up of millions, no sorry, billions of people in different countries and continents who have different languages, cultures, and governments.
There will be an argument over licensing and distributing the vaccine to other countries. Viewing the stock prices of J&J, Moderna, and Pfizer, they are all doing well, and there is the prevailing economic issue of who paid for the vaccine to be researched, tested, and produced? In the December 20th issue of Forbes appeared an article, “The People’s Vaccine—Moderna’s Coronavirus Vaccine Was Largely Funded By Taxpayer Dollars.” So Americans paid for it…but, again, this problem is larger than just one country.
In 2019, international travelers spent $155 billion as reported by ustravel.org. That means billions of dollars flowing into the United States and thousands of jobs created. We also have states that rely heavily on foreign investment with California, Florida and New York at the top of the list. What will happen if these visitors stop coming to the United States or stop traveling all together? When they do travel here, will they bring other variants of the virus?
According to Dr. Rochelle Walensky, “Based on our most recent estimates from CDC surveillance, the B.1.1.7 variant is now the most common lineage circulating in the United States.” What if that impacts our herd immunity? Regrettably, there could be other variants generating in other parts of the world that could be even more threating, and we need to think about stopping that now.
People are people no matter where they go from Lexington, Kentucky to Abuja, Nigeria to Ahvaz, Iran. It is amazingly simple to say that people matter – because they do. It should not matter how the vaccinations were produced or who paid for them. We could all be affected by the inaction to non-action of people during the pandemic.
To circle back to the statement by Horacio, as citizens of the globe, we have to think of other countries as our neighbors and do our best to bring this global pandemic to an end. If our neighbor’s house burns, it should be everyone’s concern.
By Dane Flanigan