The ongoing coronavirus pandemic started nearly six months ago and now has over fifteen million confirmed cases around the world. Regardless of the progress made over the crisis and increase in knowledge regarding the virus, a number of threats, including vaccine nationalism can potentially prolong the pandemic and even cause further difficulties.
At the moment, the are over one hundred formulas that are being tested for a potential corona vaccine, which plays a fundamental role in controlling the health crisis and building immunity against the virus.
As important as it is to develop a vaccine as soon as possible to end the pandemic, scientists emphasize the need for conducting all phases of a clinical trial in order to ensure its safety along with efficacy so that the vaccine does not lead to other health issues in the long term.
Usually, there are three phases in a clinical trial. The third and last phase is the most important out of all as it includes the largest number of participants and is held for the longest period of time.
Without Phase III, a drug or a vaccine cannot be approved and is deemed as dangerous. However, the recently approved and tested coronavirus vaccine from Russia skipped this important phase.
This is mainly why scientists around the world questioned its safety, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is a leading infectious disease expert and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the US.
Recently, the first report on the effects of Phase I and II of the clinical trial on the Russian coronavirus vaccine showed positive results without any adverse effects. As assuring as it can be, there is still no guarantee that the scientists have looked at long-term or rarer side effects that may be caused by the vaccine.
According to a number of health experts, the race to launch a vaccine and approving a vaccine this fast is associated with vaccine nationalism.
Many of the major economies of the world are more concerned with being the first one to create an effective vaccine rather than safely ending the pandemic by joining hands. If countries continue to do so, the approved vaccines may not be effective and instead cause additional health issues.
This concern has also been highlighted by the report by InterAcademy Partnership (IAP), which was recently published in Communiqué.
Other than associating nationalism with the development of a coronavirus vaccine, the IAP report also suggests that racial disparities and tensions along with the increasing number of anti-vaxxers can also become a threat in the future.
Once a vaccine is developed, the difficulties will not end but become more complex instead. Distribution of a vaccine is a crucial question that should be more discussed at this moment as creating a vaccine is not enough.
Even after it has been effectively tested and made, multiple factors can hinder a major portion of the population from getting it.
For instance, research has shown that the Black community in the US is also often marginalized in healthcare and does not have the same facilities.
Additionally, people may refuse to get the vaccine altogether as they support anti-vaccination agendas and end up putting themselves and others around them at risk.
There is a need for starting a discussion on vaccine nationalism and other mentioned problems as soon as possible as they can possibly ruin all progress over the coronavirus pandemic.