As scientists get closer to creating a COVID-19 vaccine, experts worry vaccine nationalism will hinder efforts to fight COVID-19 globally. Vaccine nationalism is when countries have a “me first” attitude toward vaccines and don’t work together internationally to distribute vaccines in the most effective way. Vaccine nationalism is dangerous and ineffective, experts say, and it can make the pandemic last longer.
As a result of vaccine nationalism, many countries are racing to develop their own vaccines instead of sharing resources to develop a vaccine together. Because they aren’t sharing resources, it could take countries longer than needed to develop their own vaccines.
Though there are a few countries that are trying to work together, the United States has decided to develop a vaccine on its own. As part of “Operation Warp Speed,” the U.S. will invest in seven vaccines, and according to officials, it will not share a vaccine until American demand is fulfilled.
Experts say this is a risky move. Though the U.S. has invested in multiple vaccines, creating a successful vaccine is difficult. Vaccines that are promising enough to test in human clinical trials still only have a 17% success rate. By trying to fight COVID-19 alone, America could be left out if another country finds a solution first.
Some countries are working together to fight COVID and may have more success. The European Union created a “European vaccines strategy” where countries can contribute funds, research, and resources, and any successful vaccines will be distributed among all members. Similarly, poor and middle-income countries are working together as part of the COVID-19 Global Vaccine Access Facility (COVAX).
COVID-19 has touched every corner of the earth. And experts are warning that until nations start working together to fight COVID-19 on a global scale, COVID will continue to spread.
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