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Kako je WHO poticao globalna cjepiva igla Europi

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Medicinska sestra priprema se za primjenu cjepiva AstraZeneca / Oxford u okviru sheme COVAX protiv koronavirusne bolesti (COVID-19) u Općoj bolnici Eka Kotebe u Adis Abebi, Etiopija, 13. ožujka 2021. REUTERS / Tiksa Negeri
Muškarac prikazuje bočicu AstraZenecinog cjepiva COVISHIELD dok zemlja prima prvu seriju cjepiva protiv koronavirusne bolesti (COVID-19) prema shemi COVAX, u Akri, Gana, 24. veljače 2021. REUTERS / Francis Kokoroko
Predsjednica Europske komisije Ursula von der Leyen daje izjavu o strategiji cjepiva protiv koronavirusne bolesti EU (COVID-19) nakon sastanka kolegija u sjedištu Europske komisije u Bruxellesu, Belgija 14. travnja 2021. John Thys / Pool putem REUTERS-a

Last April, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen added Europe to a global effort to ensure equitable access to a vaccine, which she said would be deployed “to every single corner of the world”, pišu Francesco Guarascio i John Chalmers.

No, unatoč tome što su obećali milijarde dolara za shemu koju je uspostavila Svjetska zdravstvena organizacija (WHO) i javno je podržali, dužnosnici Europske unije i države članice u više su navrata donosili odluke koje potkopavaju kampanju, interne dokumente koje je Reuters vidio i intervjue s dužnosnicima i diplomatima EU-a pokazati.

A year after its launch, Europe and the rest of the world have yet to donate a single dose through the vaccine scheme, which is part of an unprecedented effort to distribute vaccines, tests and drugs to fight the pandemic. Diplomats say Europe’s ambivalence stemmed partly from short supplies and a slack start to the global campaign, but also from concerns that the EU’s efforts would go unnoticed in a vaccine diplomacy war where highly publicised promises from China and Russia were winning ground, even in its own backyard.

Program, koji zajedno vode međunarodne agencije i Globalna alijansa za cjepiva i imunizaciju (GAVI), platforma je za skupnu kupnju za dijeljenje doza širom svijeta. No s obzirom da je administracija bivšeg američkog predsjednika Donalda Trumpa okrenula leđa SZO-u, plan nazvan COVAX polako je dobivao potporu i usredotočio se na korištenje sredstava iz bogatih zemalja za kupnju doza za manje razvijene.

Von der Leyen presented Europe’s support for the COVAX campaign as a gesture of international unity. EU officials privately cast the bloc’s vaccine aims in a less altruistic light.

“It’s also about visibility,” that is, public relations, Ilze Juhansone, Secretary-General of the EU Commission and the Commission’s top civil servant, told ambassadors at a meeting in Brussels in February, according to a diplomatic note seen by Reuters. Juhansone declined to comment.

A senior diplomat said many of those at that meeting felt Europe, which is by far the largest exporter of vaccines in the West, had goals that would be better served by plastering “more blue flags with yellow stars” on vaccine parcels and sending them out itself, rather than through COVAX.

Oglas

Brussels, which is coordinating vaccine deals with its members, has reserved a huge surplus – 2.6 billion doses for a population of 450 million so far. It has promised nearly €2.5 billion ($3bn) in support to COVAX. That made the EU the biggest funder until the administration of US President Joe Biden pledged $4n this year to the plan, which aims to distribute 2 billion doses by the end of the year.

But supplies for Europe’s own population are behind schedule, and despite giving funds, the EU and its 27 governments have also hampered COVAX in several ways. Like other rich countries, EU nations decided not to buy their own vaccines through COVAX, and competed with it to buy shots when supplies were tight. All except Germany offered the overall programme less cash than requested.

More than this, Europe promoted a parallel vaccine donation system that it would run itself, to raise the EU’s profile.

“There is huge frustration because there is a feeling that right now the race is on but we’re not really out of the starting blocks,” a senior diplomat told Reuters.

“We’re spending money on COVAX and the return in terms of political visibility is nil.”

Rusija kaže da želi izravno isporučivati ​​cjepiva zemljama. Kina je obećala potporu COVAX-u. Ali i Moskva i Peking imaju zasebne ugovore o isporuci više od milijarde doza Africi, Latinskoj Americi i partnerima iz EU-a poput Turske, Egipta, Maroka i balkanskih država koje su kandidati za pridruživanje bloku.

Most doses will take time to be delivered, but Russia and China have already exported about twice COVAX’s deliveries of around 40 million doses.

COVAX je u ožujku pogođen i izvoznim ograničenjima cjepiva iz Indije, što je usporilo isporuke glavnog dobavljača injekcija.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has repeatedly urged rich countries to set aside nationalistic impulses and share vaccines, calling the current situation “a shocking imbalance.” Non-EU member Britain, for instance, has already injected about as many shots as COVAX has delivered to more than 100 countries.

Dužnosnici COVAX-a rekli su Reutersu da su dobili dovoljno sredstava do kraja prošle godine, ali ona su stigla kasnije nego što se očekivalo.

A spokeswoman for GAVI, the vaccine alliance that runs the scheme and speaks for COVAX on such issues, said EU support had been “unequivocal” and it expects doses to be donated soon. The WHO added that von der Leyen’s personal support had been “invaluable.”

An EU Commission spokesman told Reuters COVAX had been very successful in structuring global collaboration and securing millions of doses. He called the programme “our best vehicle to deliver on international vaccines solidarity” and the EU’s “key channel for sharing vaccines.”

Part of COVAX’s difficulty is structural. Soon after it was set up, the wealthiest countries were sealing advance orders with drug companies to secure doses as they became available. The vaccination scheme has always relied on rich states for cash, which they have been slow to give.

COVAX aimed to be a platform for countries to buy vaccines, which would give it bargaining power and allow it to dispense doses among those most in need worldwide. Recognising supplies would be tight, its initial aim was to distribute doses for at least 20% of each country’s populations to cover the people most at risk.

Na internom sastanku prošlog srpnja, dužnosnik Europske komisije rekao je veleposlanicima da države članice ne bi trebale kupovati svoje snimke putem COVAX-a jer bi dolazili presporo, pokazuju diplomatske note. Komisija je kasnije postavila cilj cijepiti 70% odraslih u EU do kraja rujna.

COVAX je sljedećih mjesec dana promijenio neke od svojih uvjeta pokušavajući uvjeriti bogate nacije da se pridruže, ali nijedna država EU nije se prijavila za upotrebu platforme za svoje postupke cijepljenja. EU je COVAX-u dala financijska jamstva za plaćanje cjepiva, ali također otežala COVAX-u da to učini, dogovorivši se o kupnji daleko više doza nego što je bloku bilo potrebno.

In November, the EU pledged more money to COVAX, but only after it had signed contracts with vaccine makers for nearly 1.5 billion doses – more than half Brussels’ estimate then of global production capacity for this year, internal documents show.

Iako je Europa rezervirala tako velik udio, Komisija je diplomatima na sastanku tog mjeseca rekla da je COVAX prespor u nabavi doza.

Tada je Komisija pokrenula mogućnost uspostavljanja vlastitog mehanizma za slanje hitaca siromašnim zemljama izvan EU.

Within a month, France started to flesh out that plan. Shots would be sent directly from manufacturers – possibly before deliveries started through COVAX – and labelled as “Team Europe” donations, a draft plan said.

Potez, koji je tada otkrio Reuters, izazvao je negodovanje među dužnosnicima COVAX-a. Čitaj više

One told Reuters in April the plan was driven by France’s desire to get shots to Africa, where France formerly had colonies, and smacked of colonialism. French diplomats said they never showed a preference for any country, and Africa was most in need.

EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said in mid-January the EU’s own plan would go ahead – because COVAX was not yet fully operational. Countries to focus on would include the Western Balkans, the EU’s southern and eastern neighbours and Africa.

The next month, having reserved more than 2 billion doses but with actual deliveries hit by production problems, the EU doubled COVAX funding to €1bn. Russia and China had already delivered millions of doses across the world. COVAX had yet to deliver any. And France’s President Emmanuel Macron was publicly losing patience.

Europe and the United States should quickly send enough vaccines to Africa to inoculate the continent’s healthcare workers or risk losing influence to Russia and China, Macron said in a speech at a security conference, without specifying how these donations should be made.

Unless rich countries speeded up deliveries, “our friends in Africa will, under justified pressure from their people, buy doses from the Chinese and the Russians,” Macron told the conference. “And the strength of the West will be a concept, and not a reality.” Čitaj više

Despite Macron’s urgency, France’s cash support for the overall WHO programme – to cover tests and treatments as well as vaccines – was limited.

The WHO asked countries for contributions in proportion to their economic power. France has committed $190 million – about 13% of the $1.2 billion requested, a WHO document dated March 26 shows.

Ostale zemlje EU također su daleko ispod očekivanog doprinosa; neki su dali nulu. No, Njemačka je to pomogla nadoknaditi javnim obećanjima u iznosu od 2.6 milijardi dolara, što je znatno iznad zatraženih 2 milijarde dolara.

French diplomats said the country’s contributions are expected to increase soon.

COVAX je 24. veljače isporučio svoja prva cjepiva. EU je ublažila svoje kritike.

At a meeting on 9 March, at the height of the European Union’s own problems in procuring shots for its own citizens, a Commission official told diplomats COVAX was the main tool for donating vaccines to other countries.

But the official said Europe still needed its own mechanism, because COVAX had money, but only a tiny portion of the shots it needed. And the EU scheme would have “the advantage of giving us visibility,” the official said.

At that same meeting, EU ambassadors were shown data compiled by the EU’s foreign affairs service which those present said revealed how far the bloc’s vaccine diplomacy was lagging behind its competitors.

Saznali su da je Rusija naručila 645 milijuna doza svog cjepiva Sputnik V COVID-19 s desecima zemalja i da je Kina slala milijune doza susjedima iz EU-a, pokazuju podaci.

“We are completely out of this game,” one of the diplomats who was there told Reuters.

Reuters nije mogao točno potvrditi podatke. No podaci prikupljeni od agencije UNICEF-a Ujedinjenih naroda, koja surađuje s COVAX-om na isporukama cjepiva, pokazuju da je Rusija dogovorila isporuku gotovo 600 milijuna doza, uključujući i države EU. Kina ima ugovore o prodaji oko 800 milijuna doza, uključujući sporazume s europskim zemljama poput Srbije, Ukrajine i Albanije.

Later that month the EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, made the point candidly: “The EU is the major driver behind COVAX,” he wrote in a blog on 26 March. “But we do not get the recognition that the countries using bilateral vaccine diplomacy do.”

U utorak je Komisija EU rekla da će EU od svibnja podijeliti preko pola milijuna doza s balkanskim zemljama putem sheme EU. To je bilo dva tjedna nakon što je COVAX isporučio prve snimke u regiju. Čitaj više

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