At a time when utmost altruism is crucial in vaccinating the Covid-19-ridden world, the ‘best vaccine’ award went to a jab made by a greedy corporation that seems more interested in protecting its profits than spreading the shot.
By Marcello Ferrada de Noli, Swedish professor emeritus of public health sciences esp. epidemiology, former Research Fellow at Harvard Medical School.Fresh reports on the real mortality toll taken by the Covid-19 pandemic and a galloping upsurge of new infections in widely populated regions call on all governments to urgently institute this one and only priority: to drastically expand and increase vaccination programs worldwide, using all available brands of vaccines. This needs to be done, regardless of unethical geopolitical discriminations and the greedy stance of Moderna and Pfizer corporations on the issue of vaccine patents waivers. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), an independent population health research centre at the University of Washington’s UW Medicine, has concluded in a recent study that Covid-19 has caused 6.9 million deaths globally, more than double what official reports have acknowledged.
This would mean that either the infections are also underreported, a phenomena I have earlier indicated as correlated to the scarcity of Covid-19 testing, or to flaws in the reporting on the difference between excess mortality and reported Covid-19 deaths; or both.
Meanwhile, as of 6 May 2021, the New York Times reports that over 1.21 billion vaccine doses have been given, all countries counted. This would mean that only a minor part of the world population – which is 7,9 billion – has received the jab.
But that number – 1.21 billion – does not represent theimmunized people worldwide. It is the number of doses administered, and does not show how many people got only one jab instead of the two generally required to achieve sufficient protection – as estimated by the vaccine producers.
Extrapolating the current ratio of those who’ve taken one and two doses (e.g. 26.8% of the population of Sweden have received the first dose, but only 7.7% have been fully vaccinated – according to Blomberg’s vaccine tracker of 7 May), my epidemiological estimation is this:
Hypothesizing that (departing from the Swedish figures) only a third of the vaccinated population has received two doses of the total 1.21 billion, to achieve the vaccination goal of 70% people worldwide required for ‘pan-immunity’ – and considering only the world adult population (which is nearly 6,6 billion) being eligible for a Covid-19 vaccination with “full” efficacy (two vaccine shots), we are still missing about 12 billion doses.
In the European Union, only Hungary – which has vaccinated 43% of its population, and uses the Sputnik V vaccine – is among the leading countries in vaccine administration, according to the list published by the New York Times.
A second important issue arising in this context, is Moderna and Pfizer’s response to the initiative to temporarily suspend intellectual property restrictions or waive vaccine patents, which I have long advocated for. As I have said on an international panel of experts on RT News, regarding the production and distributions of vaccines, public health of the population has to come before the profits of pharmaceutic corporations.
This is why I naturally welcome the support the leaders of France and the Russian Federation gave to the idea of vaccine patent waivers. Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, meanwhile, says that would have ‘serious implications’ for vaccine production, echoing the arguments of Moderna and Pfizer – whose partner BioNTech is based in Germany.
At a time when almost seven million human beings have died of this pandemic in only one year and a few months; when new virus strains emerge; when in certain countries the daily recorded cases of Covid-19 infection, such in India, have reached more than 400,000; and when the vast majority of the world population – particularly in countries with poorer economies, as a consequence of exploitation by corporations in the rich ones – to oppose the waiver of vaccine patents as Moderna and others are doing, causes serious questions about medical ethics.
Also on rt.comAre Western attacks on the Russian Covid-19 vaccine a corporate cold war against humanity?The above, added to the known side effects that Moderna’s vaccine has caused, makes it incomprehensible that it has been named “world’s best coronavirus vaccine” at the World Vaccine Congress Washington (subsequently referred as to WVCW).
What were the criteria WVCW uses for this award? To the best of my knowledge (and my efforts to obtain it), no information has been given to the public. What was the rationale in this particular case that would explain WVCW giving the award to Moderna? What were the stated reasons of not giving the award, for example, to Sputnik V – a vaccine with demonstrated superiority in terms of safety, distribution and storing, as well as in efficacy – which was also shortlisted?
Neither the website of the organization, nor that of the conference where the award was given, provides any information on the criteria or the experts who made the decision. Calls to the numbers listed in the contacts section of the conference site were not answered. What was really going on there?
I will leave the conclusions to the reader. For my part I will just state the following facts:
The conference counted 182 participants. Check the affiliations of the first third of the speakers in the order they appeared in the list, and it turns out that 70% belong to either the US pharmaceutical corporate sector directly associated with vaccine production, or, to a much lesser extent, to US universities researching the field. Representatives of US government agencies are also on the list.
Moderna was the single most-represented company on that list of participants, followed by Pfizer.
WVCW’s Scientific Advisory Board is composed by 26 members, 23 of them affiliated or representing US pharmaceutical industries – including a Pfizer vice-president – or academics from US universities with research directly associated with vaccine production. The rest are: a representative of a US government agency (USDA), someone from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and a Professor at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Would Sputnik V stand any chance of having its positive features objectively praised at the Washington institution? Unlikely. SoAlexander Gintsburg, head of the research institution which developed the Sputnik V vaccine, was justified when he said: “I can say that it’s absolutely unclear how all this was evaluated, given the high mortality rate associated with mRNA vaccines”.
Would those at the greedy world of Western pharmaceutical industry care for those facts? Hardly. The ethical stance of their managers and investors has now being distinctly recognized by the public, through all the smokescreens: it is deprived of all compassion, decency, and humanity.
And as an epilogue:
In the aftermath of the award bestowing by the WVCW to Moderna, Reuters reported that the pharmaceutical company “raised its 2021 sales forecast for its COVID-19 shot by 4.3% to $19.2 billion”.
“A specter is haunting Europe…”
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.