Covid-19 vaccines should be distributed equally – as should all medicine, says Maral Aghababai, student at the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life sciences and member of Universities Allied for Essential Medicines Maastricht in this opinion article.
For the past year, we have all been living in a pandemic that has affected our lives daily. The numbers of new Covid cases are declining, yet a vaccine is the only solution to ensure public safety and implement normality again.
Fortunately, after a year of uncertainty and hope for a cure, a vaccine has been developed with almost no safety risks. However, it has been shown that the vaccine is mostly beneficial for high-income countries. One of the reasons for this is the transport of the vaccine, which poses a global issue. The vaccine must be transported in extremely low-temperature conditions. Low-income countries would have to build facilities to store the vaccine, which is almost impossible given the lack of resources. Whereas high-income countries buy vast quantities of vaccines and stockpile them because they have the means to do so. Forty-two countries have already purchased the Covid-19 vaccine, most of which are high-income countries, while no low-income country has yet started a vaccination program, according to the World Health Organization.
While medicine for the safety and health of humanity should be seen as a necessity and not a profit, many countries have not agreed. Vaccination nationalism will continue and eventually increase if no changes are made.
We need to raise our voices and draw a clear line that medicines should be distributed according to need and follow equality, not according to who pays the most.
Together with our university, we want to motivate more students and do more research to work on this global issue. Thus, if you are interested in getting involved in improving the medical situation, you can visit our Facebook page: UAEM- Maastricht and Instagram page: uaem.maastricht and send us a message.