Among the thousands of daily news on the progress of the pandemic and the variants of Covid, reflections emerge, from time to time, that put the finger on the wound of the selfishness and hypocrisy of the West.
Edited by the editorial staff of the Alleanza Cattolica
We are all submerged by the wave of the pandemic, the fourth, and the thousands of interpretations of scientific, clinical, epidemiological data, daily repeated since February 2020. A flood of information and analysis that contradict each other most of the time, up to create an inextricable chaos in the communication, which divides into opposing ideological fronts of friends and brothers between those who are for and those who are against the vaccines anti-covid.
The space reserved for the issue of distribution, below the threshold of decorum, of vaccines to the people of developing countries is instead reduced to a minimum, both in the media and in national and international institutions competent to address the problem and solve it, without the irritating rhetoric of inconclusive statements.
However, there is someone, such as Federico Fubini, columnist for the Corriere della Sera, who tackles the subject calmly. On November 30, Fubini wrote in the Milan newspaper: «Pfizer is giving priority to the delivery of the vaccine to rich countries because it earns (…). However, to put all the blame on Big Pharma would be too easy. It would be self-absolving. We Europeans have a surplus of 400 million doses sufficient to protect 400 million people elsewhere, if only we would donate them. Instead we keep them locked in our warehouses».
So here is the truth: a multinational company, which has the merit of having discovered the vaccine in nine months, behaves as a multinational company with the Chief Executive Officer, Albert Bourla, who is pursued by Western heads of state to book and pay in advance those doses of Pfizer vaccine that will ensure their populations the third and, in perspective, the fourth and fifth dose. None of these heads of state, at least judging by the facts, foresees that part of these quantities will be destined to the most fragile countries.
The non-governmental organization Amref Health Africa (African Medical and Research Foundation) claims «As of December 23, 47.83% of the world’s population has been fully vaccinated. Europe is at 60.35%; the USA at 61.14%; Italy at 85%; Africa at 8.57%».
And Europe as a whole, according to La Repubblica of December 4, has donated only 36 million doses to Africa. But, some governments on the African continent also seem to be fragile and more inclined and attentive to closing trade agreements with the People’s Republic of China than to purchasing and distribution, which is made objectively difficult by the climate and the often tragic transport situation.
So, to conclude: what can be done to accept the invitation made by Pope Francis at Christmas to make «hearts generous, so that the necessary treatments, especially vaccines, can reach the neediest populations»?
First of all, it is necessary to look at reality for what it is: drug companies are for-profit entities, which – like it or not – thanks to profit do research for new vaccines and new drugs. Therefore, on the one hand, they should be remunerated and, on the other, they should be effectively reminded of their role of social responsibility, so that they can contribute to ad hoc productions for the most fragile populations.
For their part, international organizations with billion-dollar budgets, such as the WHO, the European Union itself and rich countries, should coordinate this effort, providing adequate quotas of vaccines for countries with lower incomes. That is, they should take charge of their own citizens, as they should, and think of those who are less fortunate.
But the main problem remains the dryness of the human heart. At Christmas we should all be more generous. But who, among those in favor of the vaccine, is ready to give up – if it were possible – the third dose to divert it to Africa? Few, perhaps none.
The spirit of Christmas has been lost in the revolutionary journey away from God that has shaken Europe, once Christian, and the countries connected to it, to its foundations. For this reason it is necessary to act to revive it with a new evangelization, which pushes everyone to look beyond their own selfish needs. Only in this way will it be possible to rebuild a better society, one that respects its neighbors, even and especially the most fragile. And that respect God, today denied in deeds as well as in words.
Wednesday, December 29, 2021