Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

vaccine-india

A health worker administers a dose of Covid-19 vaccine on August 3, 2021 in Greater Noida, India. (Photo: Sunil Ghosh/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Why We Must Vaccinate the World

If we believe in democracy, economic success or basic survival, the world's media must send the message loud and clear.

Never in the history of humankind has the blindingly obvious been ignored with such obviously high risk. Never have the cautious and persistent warnings of medical and biological scientists been so spectacularly and swiftly vindicated.

Unless the world is vaccinated, the likelihood is there will be another variant that will be far more lethal.

It is genuinely weird. In the next few days an immensely sophisticated piece of technological kit that has taken years of ingenuity and sophistication to conceive and manufacture—the James Webb Space Telescope—will be rocketed into space to peer into the depths of the universe to examine the nature of its origins. Meanwhile, staring us all in the face, is the obvious fact that the human species is playing roulette with its own viability.

We are not now talking about the global environment, where the refusal to invest sufficiently in measures to lower the rate of climate warming is exasperating. At least we can all agree it won't be easy.

We are talking about the need to vaccinate the world against COVID-19. The moment credible vaccines were developed we were informed that for them to work, everyone needed to have them. Leave the poor and the crowded unvaccinated, we were told, and new variants would mutate that would find their way around the protections against the old ones.

So it has proved.

A great gathering of leaders took place around COP26, which should have been the venue to agree to fund immediate global vaccination as an exercise in the necessary cooperation. The opportunity was passed over.

Joe Biden brought the world's 'democracies' together this month at a summit meeting to discuss the need to defend democracy. No one seems to have thought that the need to ensure the health of the poor and the wealthy equally was a democratic issue.

The US has just passed a budget of $576bn to spend on its military in a year. China is doubling its nuclear weapons programme. Russia is massing its armies on the Ukraine border. The European Union is debating how to prevent Poland from becoming a dictatorship. The government of the UK is putting its head up its bottom to see if it can find a silver lining in Brexit.

Meanwhile up pops Omicron to say: "Told you so," and it proves itself to be vertically contagious.

The WHO had warned that worldwide vaccination was vital to ward off new variants, yet here we are. Blame the latest crisis on the Global North

Universal vaccination could have prevented the viral reproduction of COVID that generates such variations. Now, unless the world is vaccinated, the likelihood is there will be another variant that will be far more lethal.

It isn't certain—we are talking about probability. It isn't expensive to do our best to prevent it, if you measure the cost as a percentage of military expenditure. It isn't difficult and it does not need a telescope to see it makes sense.

Twenty years ago a group of editors and contributors cooperated to start openDemocracy in the belief that there was a need for a free and open space to discuss the globalisation of the world, in the face of the arrogance of the co-called Washington consensus. Today, after the financial crash, military disasters and the rise of authoritarianism, we have changed our tune and are committed to investigating what is going wrong and the corruptions that are driving the threats to democracy.

The most immediate threat of all is the possibility, however remote, of a more lethal variant of COVID. The obvious precautionary step is to vaccinate the world population in a single, cooperative effort. We are the editors who oversaw openDemocracy at its start and oversee it now. We call on every publication in the world to call on every government to do the obvious and work together to vaccinate us all now, in 2022.


This article is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 licence.
peter

Peter Geoghegan

Peter Geoghegan is editor-in-chief of openDemocracy and author of 'Democracy for Sale'. He can be found on Twitter @PeterKGeoghegan.

Anthony Barnett

Anthony Barnett is the founder of OpenDemocracy. Follow him on Twitter: @AnthonyBarnett

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Court Strikes Down Alabama GOP's Racist Congressional Map

"We deserve to be heard in our electoral process, rather than have our votes diluted using a map that purposefully cracks and packs Black communities," said a plaintiff in the case.

Jake Johnson ·


One Year In, Biden Fails to Boost C- Grade on Environment

The Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund assessment indicates the administration's action to deliver on environmental promises "desperately needs improvement."

Jessica Corbett ·


'A No-Brainer': Lawmakers Urge Pelosi to Hold Vote on Stock Trading Ban

"Perhaps this means some of our colleagues will miss out on lucrative investment opportunities," said House members in a bipartisan letter. "We don't care."

Jessica Corbett ·


Virginia Schools Sue Youngkin Mandate Making Masks Optional

The Republican governor wants to allow parents to decide whether their children should wear masks to school to mitigate Covid-19 transmission—guidance at least 58 school districts have no plans to follow.

Julia Conley ·


US Puts Troops on Standby as War Tensions Over Ukraine Mount

The U.K. threatens "lightning war" as military forces mobilize in eastern Europe.

Andrea Germanos ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo