According to the nation’s top medical authority, Australia could miss out on receiving the COVID-19 vaccine medication.
Paul Kelly, Australia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, says we should not eliminate the potential for what he called “vaccine nationalism”. In this potential situation, the nation that creates the vaccine is not obliged to share it globally and thus other nations, like Australia could be excluded.
Nationalism is a possibility
A safeguard has been put in place to prevent this, namely the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), with Kelly explaining in 7News it aims to “encourage a global, collaborative effort for dealing with pandemics, and particularly and specifically in relation to vaccine development”.
“I know that CEPI has, indeed, provided funds to, nine different vaccine candidates… part of the contract for those funds is that there will not be a nationalist approach and whatever is discovered will be made available for the whole of the world.
“I hope for that, although the history of these types of things is (nationalism) unfortunately,” he continued.
Everyone will suffer
Even the CEPI chairperson, Jane Halton, recently expressed concerned about nationalism being a real possibility when it comes down to the crunch.
Speaking at the National Press Club in Canberra she said: “If we have vaccine nationalism and one country looks after itself first, and at the expense of the rest of the world, everyone is going to continue to suffer. This is difficult.”
Kelly told media he would not rule out the possibility of other nations withholding the life-saving drugs.
“What I have seen is an enormous global effort… but you’re right, there are many other vaccine candidates that are being tested right now.
“There is a lot of collaboration, but that collaboration will rapidly become competitive, I’m sure, as candidate vaccines become more likely to be successful.
“We may not win the race, but we’re part of the race, and we will be looking to develop a vaccine here in Australia.
“If it isn’t the first vaccine that is available, we’ll be looking to join that effort to vaccinate people. It’s really important that we do that in a way that is global because infections don’t know borders,” he said in 7News.