Global leaders have joined together to call for a new treaty that would aim to help the world prepare for future pandemics. The call to action comes with a warning as leaders are concerned with the rising vaccine nationalism that wealthier countries are expressing while they hoard the patents for Covid-19 vaccines.
More than 20 national leaders wrote a piece that was published to several media outlets this week. The leaders included France’s Emmanuel Macron, Britain’s Boris Johnson and Germany’s Angela Merkel, all of which expressed that the idea of another pandemic isn’t a question of “if” but “when,” so the world needs to unite to be prepared.
The overall message of the piece is calling for a greater sense of unity among world leaders as they battle future viruses. Countries need to avoid having nationalistic attitudes due to the fact that at the end of the day, we’re all struggling, people are dying and getting sick everywhere, so we have to come together and co-operate with each other.
“There will be other pandemics and other major health emergencies. No single government or multilateral agency can address this threat alone. The question is not if, but when.”
The warning comes as a multitude of countries continue to block the trading of vaccine supplies and patents from other lesser developed countries. The European Union and the UK have been in a battle over AstraZeneca’s contract to supply their shot due to the fact that some EU member states have expressed constantly that they oppose the trading bloc’s put in place with the vaccine.
World Health Organization chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, had previously warned about the concept of “vaccine nationalism” and the type of damage it could do; including delaying the end to the pandemic itself.
“We are committed to ensuring universal and equitable access to safe, efficacious and affordable vaccines, medicines and diagnostics for this and future pandemics. We believe that nations should work together towards a new international treaty for pandemic preparedness and response,” the leaders stated.
The leaders of the US, China, and Russia did not put their names on the piece; they’re also the main countries that are under fire for expressing vaccine nationalism since the first shot was approved. Tedros, however, claims that all WHO member states will be included in future discussions of an international pandemic treaty.
“The open letter is being signed on an opt-in basis, but when the discussion on the pandemic treaty really begins all member states will be represented and included in those conversations,” Tedros explained.
“There is quite significant support, not just through the op-ed but also through bilateral contact that we have with all of the nations across the world, including nations that did not sign this op-ed, but which are reacting quite positively to the idea,” President of the European Council, Charles Michel, said.
Worldwide, there have been more than 127 million Covid-19 cases, and more than 2.7 million people have died. The articles calling for unity come after a multitude of surges appear throughout the world.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.