No need to say “what vaccine”; is there? It’s been a year since we learnt about the COVID-19 virus and the pandemic it precipitated. We had first death here back in March. From the very beginning, we knew the key to deliver a death blow to the killer virus was vaccination. We’ve had enough experience with viruses over the last hundred years – including with polio in the 1950s – to know we can immunise ourselves against these tiny assassins.
The challenge, of course, was coming up with the vaccine. Fortunately – we were told – new techniques have been developed in the last few decades to engineer the very innards of the virus to rapidly concoct vaccines. And the race was on. Meanwhile, we were instructed to minimise the spread of the virus by wearing masks, washing hands with soap, and keeping our distance from each other. The consequent torpedoing of economic activity while trying to observe those rules added an extra impetus to the rush for a vaccine.
So, it was with a sigh of relief that we heard that several vaccines were engineered – 4 at least – by the end of last year. The world rolled up its sleeves (so to speak) to take its shots. We’d soon be back to (a new) normal. Now, however, we’ve hit a brick wall: how to distribute the vaccines in an equitable manner. It appears that most didn’t want to face the truth of our new-liberal age. Namely, that the market – which makes all decisions – doesn’t do “equitable”; the market” responds to money and power.
And we have the “developed” countries in the throes of rolling out the vaccines while we in the Third World watch on in envy and hope for the best. The WHO – with reps from all the countries in the world – is supposed to be looking out for our interest. Along with some other organisations, they’ve formed a consortium – COVAX – to arrange for supplies of vaccines. And even this would be for only 20% of our needs. However, there was the question of getting the money – which was expected – but they’ve hit a brick wall with the supplies.
Why? Well, the developed countries, like the US! Canada, Japan etc, have already placed orders far in excess of what they would ever need to vaccinate their entire populations. And even in developed Europe, a nasty fight has broken out over the priority within the union in regard to distribution of vaccines. And in the meantime, even if a country like Guyana has the money, the companies supplying the vaccines can’t get permission to ship.
We’re seeing an extension of the old nationalistic phenomenon – vaccine nationalism!
So, don’t expect those vaccines soon!
As we know to our cost, sabre-rattling by Venezuela is nothing new. In fact, for over the last century, whenever their politicians – across the divide(s) – wanted to divert attention from some mess or other, the Essequibo border controversy was always their go-to option. We should never get complacent about domestic opponents of Maduro – they all come from the same pack of cards when Essequibo is concerned.
So, your Eyewitness is quite pleased that the PNC have put aside their petty “non-recognition” of the Government, and are collaborating on repelling Maduro’s crass bluff-and-bluster. That is exactly what the PPP under Jagan did when they were in opposition back in the seventies, and the PNC was in power under Burnham. But the PNC should be reminded that the PPP didn’t confine their support for the PNC on the border, but offered “critical support” in toto!
With us not just facing Venezuela, but COVID-19 and its economic straitjacket response, the PNC should do no less right now.
Not one spring cuirass!
…the “high” ground
Your Eyewitness was taken aback to learn that folks won’t be charged for having less than 30 grams of ganja. From his dissolute youth, he knows this can make some 60 spliffs.