All This Vaccine News Is Meaningless To Most Of The World

How vaccine nationalism shafts billions like me
6 min readNov 30, 2020


Vaccine Nationalism: the same toxic nationalism, now in injectable form

All of your great vaccine news might as well be from Mars. Billions of people like me are last in line. Perhaps you don’t get it. Irresponsible, rich countries have created tons of demand, bought up all the supply, and are doing it all for profit.

There’s no vaccine for the world. Just the wealthy.

“The reality is that the majority of countries where 87 percent of the world’s population live, are going to have a very limited supply of vaccines, at least for 2021,” Professor Shabir Madhi says. (Al Jazeera)

The US, EU and India alone have bought up at least 4-billion doses, while the entire COVAX program for the Global South has 700 million (The Continent). To put it another way, Moderna and Pfizer might as well be Rolex and Omega. Luxury goods.

Here’s a damning report from Duke University:

According to the analysis, the root problem is that finite global manufacturing capacity is colliding with wealth disparities and self-interest to create a zero-sum game where low-income countries simply can’t compete.

Zero-sum. You could say too bad peasants, but this is in no one’s interest besides the private drug companies. A global pandemic needs a global vaccine. As the WHO’s Tedros Ghebreyesus said,

“What we’re saying is sharing vaccines, or sharing other tools, actually helps the world to recover together, and the economic recovery can be faster and the damage from COVID-19 could be less.”

For this very reason nations signed the COVAX agreement but they didn’t mean it. The rich, white nations are all reneging on the deal.

The data reveal that several COVAX signatories, including the United Kingdom (UK), the European Union (EU) and Canada, are effectively undermining the pact by negotiating “side deals” for large vaccine shipments that will “result in a smaller piece of the pie available for equitable global allocation.”



Indrajit (Indi) Samarajiva is a Sri Lankan writer. Follow me at, or just email me at