The head of the World Health Organization estimated in a recent address that of the more than 700 million coronavirus vaccine doses that have been administered across the globe, just 0.2% have gone to people in low-income nations—inequity that experts warn will persist unless rich countries end their obstruction of an international effort to suspend vaccine patents.
Speaking to the media on Friday, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreysus warned that “there remains a shocking imbalance in the global distribution of vaccines” as pharmaceutical companies cling to their monopoly control over technology that was developed with large infusions of public money. Continue reading →
While the Global South overprescribes antibiotics, in the West farm animals are pumped full of them, farmers even giving them to healthy animals so they can be packed tighter in ever-increasing herd sizes.
Big pharmaceutical companies have not come out of COVID-19 looking like model global citizens. Pfizer has been accused of bullying South American governments after demanding they put up military bases as collateral in exchange for vaccines. Meanwhile, Bill Gates persuaded Oxford University to sign an exclusive deal with AstraZeneca for its new offering, rather than allow it to be copied freely by all. The British/Swedish multinational quickly announced it would fall 50 million vaccines short on its first shipment to the European Union.
But what if there were a looming health crisis that could make COVID look almost minor in comparison? The World Health Organization (WHO) has been warning of just such a case for some time now, predicting that antimicrobial resistance will kill up to 10 million people every year by 2050 — almost four times as many as the coronavirus has killed in the past 12 months. Continue reading →
Experts: “The recently announced decision sends an unfortunate message to the Colombian people that your administration is not committed to abandoning the ineffective and damaging war on drugs internationally.”
After a six-year halt, Colombia plans to restart the toxic aerial spraying of glyphosate on coca crops as early as next month—drawing “most welcome” support from U.S. President Joe Biden and sharp criticism from 150 regional experts who wrote to Biden, “your administration is implicitly endorsing former President Trump’s damaging legacy in Colombia.”
Women and allies rally in Melbourne, Victoria on March 15, 2021 during Australia’s mutli-day March 4 Justice against sexual violence and gender discrimination. (Photo: Matt Hrkac/Flickr/cc)
Declaring “enough is enough,” over 100,000 Australian women and their allies took to the nation’s streets Sunday and Monday during a nationwide #March4Justice to denounce sexual violence and gender discrimination.
Over 110,000 people in at least 40 cities and towns took part in the demonstrations, according to event organizers. Janine Hendry, the main organizer, told the New York Times that “there are huge numbers of women around the country that have had enough, quite frankly, of their appalling response to sexual assault and harassment.” Continue reading →
“The unfair patent system is now one the biggest obstacles to defeating this virus.”
That was the core critique from Nick Dearden, executive director of the U.K.-based advocacy group Global Justice Now, on Friday morning in response to news this week that South Africa is paying more than double for AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine compared to most countries in Europe.
According to a report by The Guardian, a Belgian minister leaked information revealing that European Union members are paying €1.78 ($2.16) per dose for the AstraZeneca vaccine. Meanwhile, even as the pharmaceutical giant has said it would cap the price at €2.50 (approx. $3) per dose, South Africa’s deputy director general of health Anban Pillay confirmed to the newspaper that it was quoted a price of $5.25 per dose. Continue reading →
Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu receive Pfizer C. POVID-19 vaccine, kickstarts vaccination drive. Screenshot: YouTube
As vaccinations for the deadly COVID-19 virus begin to be delivered in large numbers, Israel has been receiving a great deal of praise in global media for its handling of the fight against the pandemic — one that has cost the lives of over 1.8 million people worldwide in the last 12 months.
Israel has gone into vaccine “overdrive,” announced the Financial Times, noting that the country of 9 million people has become the “world leader” and an example to follow. Detailing its achievements, it told readers that, “At one vaccination site, people waited no longer than 10 minutes each to be assigned to receive a jab, with one of 10 booths being kept empty to handle overflows,” also noting that the high tech system texts citizens an exact time of arrival, to further help with crowd control. The Wall Street Journal celebrated that Israel had vaccinated more than 10% of its population in just two weeks. Other outlets like the BBC noted that the government was prioritizing the elderly, with over 40% of over 60s having already received the first dose of a two injection procedure. “Israel could become [the] 1st nation to vaccinate all its citizens,” ran an Economic Times’ headline. Continue reading →
Coronavirus patients at the Imam Khomeini Hospital in Tehran, Iran in March 2020. Photo: Fars News Agency, CC BY 4.0
The head of Iran’s central bank on Monday accused the U.S. government of actively blocking the country from purchasing stocks of coronavirus vaccine through the World Health Organization’s COVAX program.
Al Jazeerareports Abdolnasser Hemmati said on Instagram that it should be “recorded in historical memory” that crippling U.S.-led sanctions against the Islamic Republic are preventing the country from buying vaccines against the potentially deadly virus through COVAX, the WHO-led global initiative to fast-track development, production, and equitable worldwide distribution of a coronavirus vaccine. Continue reading →
New Florida Daily COVID-19 Infections: March 1, 2020 to July 4, 2020. (NY Times screenshot)
A Chinese state-controlled newspaper has blamed the Trump administration’s mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic to cause the spread of the virus to go “completely out of control.”
Describing the disease as a “U.S. epidemic”, the paper warned that the administration’s failure poses a threat to the rest of the world. “Lies are dominating US society’s recognition of the epidemic,” the Global Times wrote. Continue reading →
The economy has crashed. A nationwide pandemic that has (officially) claimed some 84,000 Americans has also resulted in an estimated 36 million filing for unemployment insurance and millions frequenting food banks for the first time. Yet business is booming for one unlikely industry; weapons manufacturers are busier than ever and are even advertising for tens of thousands of more workers.
Northrop Grumman announced that it was planning to hire up to 10,000 more employees this year. Airlines are being hit particularly hard, as the number of people flying on commercial planes has cratered. Raytheon, who supplies parts to civilian aircraft manufacturers, has lost a great deal of business. Yet it is still advertising 2,000 new jobs in the military wing of its business. Boeing, who endured a torrid 2019, with multiple high-profile crashes of its 737 MAX-8 airliner, is preparing to lay off ten percent of its staff as airlines predict a long and sustained drop in air travel. Nevertheless, it is looking to add hundreds of new workers in its defense, intelligence, and cybersecurity departments. Continue reading →
The U.S. blocked a U.N. global ceasefire resolution amid the global pandemic on Friday, objecting to language that even indirectly praised the World Health Organization. (Photo: via EuroYankee)
International diplomats were stunned and frustrated Friday night after the U.S. again blocked a United Nations resolution to call for a global ceasefire during the coronavirus pandemic.
The U.S. objected to any mention of the World Health Organization (WHO) in the resolution. President Donald Trump has claimed WHO withheld information from world governments about the coronavirus, and that the global health agency was privy to information about the virus originating in a lab in China. Continue reading →