Vaccination campaigns and global cooperation: challenges to be overcome

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This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Patricia Dias Rabelo and Natiele Ilucenski Marques, two 3rd year medical students at Centro Universitário Ingá (UNINGÁ), Brazil. They are affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the contamination status of the new Coronavirus has increased to pandemic. Even before this milestone, several countries have taken sanitary and economic measures independently and individually to cool this infectious disease. However, individual efforts were not enough to kill the virus, making clear the central role of global cooperation, through sanitary measures, especially in research and development to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to The People’s Vaccine Alliance, which brings together international organizations like Oxfam, Amnesty International and Global Justice Now, countries with high economic power are reserving doses of vaccines against COVID-19 beyond what is necessary. This causes a huge imbalance and helplessness for the population of underdeveloped countries, which will not be able to reach the minimum vaccination coverage. An example of this fact is, according to Global Justice Now, more than 80% of the doses of the Pfizer vaccine were purchased by governments that comprise only 14% of the world population.

Given this, a huge challenge is created for vaccination campaigns, especially in underdeveloped countries: the scarcity of vaccine resources. For, despite the efforts of scientists around the world to produce new vaccines, many remained in stock, while almost complete populations did not receive even one dose, enduring the pandemic stalemate and all its implications. For it is undoubtedly that in order to overcome this evil global efforts are necessary together, since individual works have not been effective in the past.

Therefore, to overcome the challenges surrounding vaccination campaigns, it is necessary that there is worldwide collaboration aimed at the immunization of underdeveloped and developing countries on an equal basis. For this to happen, it becomes necessary for the pharmaceutical companies responsible for manufacturing to make a significant percentage available to these countries, in addition to more accessible monetary forms for their purchase. In addition, the fight against Coronavirus will only be successful with awareness of countries that have purchased excess immunizers, so these doses can be redistributed to governments facing vaccine shortages.

Knowing this, it is essential that the extinction of individualistic behavior occurs, since from the beginning a global force of cooperation has arisen through research aimed at the search for a vaccine or medicine. Thus, with the success of an effective immunizer, more than ever, the humanitarian and altruistic spirit must remain. For as has been said by William Shakespeare, “selfishness only unifies the insignificant”, and it is necessary to fight individualism to achieve success in this battle.

About the author

Patricia Dias Rabelo and Natiele Ilucenski Marques i a 3rd year medical student at Centro Universitário Ingá (UNINGÁ). Since 2020 they have been active members of IFMSA BRAZIL through the local UNINGÁ committee.They believe that knowledge has the power to change the world. They believe that medicine goes beyond medical teaching, but that the knowledge and consolidation of it comes from scientific production, projects aimed at the community and practical teaching.

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