by Irina Jiang
Image: Umbra Mania / Flickr
The opinions reflected in this article do not represent an anti-vaccine sentiment on behalf of The Global Diplomat. Rather, we publish this to shine a new perspective on the various forms of Covid-19 vaccines and their complications that may often be overlooked by the mainstream media. We encourage all to practice safe pandemic procedures as mandated by their local governments and social distancing. For more information on the various vaccines, please visit your government’s health authority sites to learn more.
Vaccines—the saviour of 2020 and 2021, the hope to end all miseries, the angel to bring our lives back to normal, are not working! In today’s society, where politics are infused in every sector of our lives, vaccines are inevitably utilized by politicians not entirely for the good of their people. Just as America sent Apollo 11 to the moon in 1969 to win against the USSR in the Cold War, technology has once again became a political tool. Since Apollo 11, technology has become a determinant for countries to demonstrate their political and economic power globally. Countries can not only gain wealth from exporting vaccines, but they can also set a positive and powerful image in front of the global platform. Whoever has the best COVID-19 vaccine becomes the hero that every other country wants to rapport with. Are vaccines still the saviour under the dirty hands of political systems? The answer is NO. Maybe Apollo 11 did win the U.S. some power, but this time, it’s not just those astronauts who are risking their lives— it’s every single one of us.
Usually, vaccines take as long as 10-20 years to be confirmed as completely safe and effective, but when it comes to COVID vaccines, the process is sped up due to aforementioned reasons. For example, Sinopharm, one of the major COVID vaccine suppliers in China, has been reported as ineffective with detrimental side effects. There have been 300 reported positive COVID cases after injecting Sinopharm vaccines. Since the Sinopharm vaccines create antibodies by injecting live versions of the coronavirus itself (with reduced aggression), these cases of infection may be caused by injection. Brazil and Indonesia, two importers of Sinopharm vaccines, have reported 50.4% and 65.3% efficacy respectively, which is barely around the 60% standard.
Pfizer is a major U.S. COVID vaccine supplier and one of the most well-known vaccine suppliers globally. However, concerns have been raised about its safety. Pfizer vaccines, with “95% efficacy and almost no side effects” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), is expected to be the ultimate “saviour” for the pandemic. However, the results are disappointing as the volunteer testers have been reporting severe headaches and symptoms of hangover, which is extremely risky if those symptoms appear in doctors when doctors are already on a shortage. The Norwegian Medicines Directorate has warned weak populations including the elders and those recovered from severe diseases to be very cautious when taking Pfizer vaccines. Concerns were further fired up by Stephen F. Lynch’s positive COVID results. Stephen F. Lynch is a U.S. congressman who always wears a mask, washes his hands, and on top of that, has taken two doses of Pfizer vaccines. “The world’s most reliable COVID vaccine” turns out to be merely a waste of money.
One may argue that during this urgent time that it’s already a breakthrough to invent vaccines at all. However, the key problem is not vaccine safety but the repeated framing of global issues into political ones—decades back, there was Apollo 11; a year ago, there was ongoing debate about who signed the Paris Climate Change Accord, and now, there is a “vaccine war”. These three events are common in one aspect: they are relevant to the wellbeing of the human race, but at the same time heavily played around with by politicians. Country leaders point at each other’s noses and question each other’s contribution. How can effective COVID vaccines be produced if not through a delicate process of medical experiments but instead a competition over whose vaccines are the fastest, cheapest, and get the highest export revenue?
Political interference of issues like COVID-19 need to come to an end. If COVID-19 is a challenge set by God, we have failed it. If COVID is not something every country should collaborate to defeat, then what is? It has impacted every country in the world by now and has taken more than 2.36 million lives worldwide. This 2.36 million is not just a number. Behind the number, there were once 2.36 million flourishing lives—parents of two-year-old children, doctors of struggling patients, newborns of loving families. Death is a subject most of us have faced from losing a loved one. The sorrow we felt amplified 2.36 million times is how desperate the world has been in 2020, not to mention the anxiety felt by the 60.1 million patients who have luckily recovered. In these dire circumstances, it would really help if a committee is formed by cutting edge scientists all over the world. The committee, similar to the Paris Climate Change Accord, would serve primarily four functions:
1. Recognition of COVID-19 as a global issue
2. Every government is responsible for diminishing the infection rate in their respective country
3. Every government must share any spare breakthrough resources after ensuring the benefits of its own citizens.
4. Creating the best scientist group in the world to produce the safest and most effective COVID vaccine.
2.36 million deaths is a rising number. As every minute passes, there is more death, more sorrow, more urgency. As I am writing this line, COVID patients are waiting desperately in hospitals, every one of them having their own loved ones. They are waiting for a future, not of unreliable vaccines, but of a dedication to make things better without political interference.