‘I will refuse the booster’
The day I got my second coronavirus vaccine, I did a happy dance in the parking lot of the Wakefield community centre and then rushed off to make plans to visit my grandkids for some long overdue hugs.
I felt grateful to live in a country wealthy enough to be able to provide this life-saving vaccine to every citizen who wants it (some do not), and to have tens of millions of additional doses purchased for future use. In Quebec there’s even talk of possibly rolling out a third, booster shot. But my gratitude for the double vaccine is tinged with shame, and I will refuse the booster if offered.
Around the world, 3.8 billion have still not had a single injection. This, as the number of cases reaches 200 million globally and the death toll surpasses 4.2 million. How can this be?
WHO has called on wealthy countries to halt plans for the booster until at least 10 per cent of the population of every country is vaccinated.
“We cannot and we should not accept countries that have already used most of the global supply of vaccine (more than 85 per cent has been bought up by just 10 countries) using even more of it while the world’s most vulnerable people remain unprotected,” said WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Two of the leading vaccine producers, Pfizer and Moderna, are set to charge the European Union more than $23 and $25 per dose, respectively. A study by the People’s Vaccine Alliance found that the companies – already enormously profitable – are charging governments as much as $41 billion above the estimated cost of production.
In this climate of corporate greed, poorer countries cannot possibly compete.
Those of us fortunate enough to live in wealthy nations are blowing an unprecedented opportunity to show compassion and care for our sisters and brothers – our fellow humans – in poorer countries. Before it is too late, we could help turn this unjust situation around by calling on our elected officials (and our fall election candidates as well) to push for an urgent and more equitable distribution of the vaccine.
One day, our grandkids will have questions about how we conducted ourselves during this so-called “equalizer” pandemic. What are we going to tell them?