More than a year ago, the world looked shocked as the Chinese city of Wuhan inflict the first Lockdown of the coronavirus. Since then, people all over the world have made extraordinary sacrifices and have shown great unity in carrying out the spread of the virus. However, when it comes to vaccination, political leaders around the world seem to have forgotten that we are all together.

Image: Reference

 In recent weeks the European Union has been at loggerheads with vaccine manufacturers after AstraZeneca admitted it expected serious shortages in production and is accused of prioritizing exports to the UK. In response, European authorities have introduced temporary export restrictions on vaccines manufactured locally, giving member states the opportunity to reduce EU export restrictions to countries such as the UK, the United States, and South Africa.

At the top, this may seem like a fight against corrupt contractual obligations, but it reveals a very serious fact. Rich countries are trapped in a self-inflicted game and ultimately the inevitable zero-sum game rather than vaccine assets. And it is a game that poor countries will inevitably throw away - at the expense of all of us.

Rich countries have ordered adequate doses to vaccinate their people three times, while 9 out of 10 people in nearly 70 poor countries may not get vaccinated at all this year. This was revealed in an analysis in December 2020 by the People's Vaccine Alliance, a group of organizations including Amnesty International that campaigns for free and fair distribution of antiretroviral drugs.

We know that when it comes to Covid infection and spread, no one is safe until we are all safe. But the efforts of almost every rich country to snatch drugs are a reminder of the wealthy travelers who pay their fare at the airport. They may land first, but the plane will depart to its Covid-free destination once all passengers - rich and poor - have boarded.

While Europeans have a right to be concerned about what this controversy might mean to their access to the vaccine, we must remember that this is a concern shared by everyone around the world. The situation in South Africa underscores why the world cannot participate in this universal process. With the emergence of new Covid-19 models, including a new type identified by South African scientists that appears to be more contagious than the previous version, the poles have risen sharply to ensure faster and equitable delivery of vaccines.

"The European Union has funded the development of vaccines and products and wants to see a return," said EU officials, as the organization has invested € 2.7 billion (approximately $ 3.3 billion) in several vaccine research and development. However, many South Africans also volunteered to participate in the precision test trials because they thought this would be their only chance to get one.

Delivering the world's poorest vaccine will require a more proactive approach rather than competition, with governments and corporations working together to increase global supply rather than fighting it.

There are sparks of hope:

 The latest news is that companies including Pfizer, Sanofi, GSK, and Curevac have entered into an agreement to produce more goals that show that progress can be made together. But these deals are just a drop in the bucket. Meeting this global challenge will mean taking such interactions to a whole new level.

The EU could begin by abandoning its opposition to India and South Africa's proposals to the World Trade Organization, which could revoke the protection of intellectual property with life-saving products used to deal with Covid-19. The proposal will facilitate the transfer of technology so that Covid-19 medical products, including drugs, can be produced more quickly and cheaper by manufacturers around the world.

With both rich and poor countries now equally striving for access, these proposals are not a solution to quickly increase vaccine production for the benefit of all. Pharmaceutical companies must also fulfill their human rights obligations, which is why Amnesty International is campaigning for companies, including AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, and Moderna, to share their knowledge and expertise so that everyone in the world has access to the vaccine.

To date, governments or corporations have never been more willing to work together on the scale of what we need. But if we want to get out of this global crisis together, quickly and with a clear conscience, that will change.