How things look depends on where we’re looking at them from. For those of us, mostly elders, in this country who have been vaccinated, our perspective has gotten brighter. It is important to remember that is not the case for far too many in the U.S., and around the world.
by Sue Robin, Los Angeles, California
People all over the world have offered up prayers to their various Gods and beseeched the governments from one end of this planet to another with one common goal, unique in and of itself—to find a way to stop the COVID-19 virus. Now the miracle of the vaccine has arrived, at least in some countries, and some cities, and some parts of cities. It is the word “some” that speaks to the major conundrum of our time. Who gets this miracle?
This morning started with a chat with my son who lives in Paris. The virus has inundated the medical system there and vaccine rollout has been slow. They are, again, under lockdown. Needless to say, worry for my family has been over the top. The blame for the slowness can be attributed in part to the EU’s slower negotiations and not approving the vaccines as quickly, but the USA has some responsibility for this frighteningly slow rollout.
In June of 2020, the USA locked up huge supplies of vaccine when and if it became available, and when the vaccine became a reality in December of 2020, many more doses were purchased by the US. After taking office, President Biden purchased even more doses. The European Union was slower to negotiate and though they did commit to purchases from all the major vaccine producers, there were soon production problems because of the US demands.
Here in the USA, those in the wealthy communities are benefiting enormously. There are some communities of color and of poverty that had to scream loud and long before they were given appropriate access. Some countries have not given even one dose of vaccine. The reality is that if the entire world is not inoculated, the entire world will not be safe from COVID and its variants.
In the 1950s, Jonas Salk developed a vaccine for polio and shared this formula with the world, as he felt it was his moral responsibility to make sure everyone was protected from this scourge. While I am enormously grateful for the development of the vaccine for COVID-19 and for being one of the lucky ones who has had both shots, the profits and lack of availability all over the global is disheartening. There was no moral sense of responsibility for the health and well-being of the world.
We cannot go back and undo what was done, but we can push our leaders to cooperate in a more equitable distribution of vaccine, not just in our country but throughout the world. I am sure the pharmaceutical companies will not give up their profits for morality’s sake, but, perhaps, with pressure, more factories can be authorized to ramp up production. Our planet needs a lot less greed and much more cooperation and more selflessness. I am not sure I will see that in my lifetime, but it is joyous when we see even baby steps in that direction. Please write to your Senators, Congresspeople and President and let them know that we are responsible for more than just our own country but, also, an entire planet and all its inhabitants. Help save our Mother Earth and ALL her babies.