The lack of coordination in funding is confidence-shaking. Germany is the single largest contributor to the ACT Alliance. Not the USA. Not the EU. Not the EC.
France, one of the principle cheerleaders, has given less than half as much as Bill Gates has.
And notwithstanding all the dumbshit conspiracies, he is far from the largest donor. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is responsible for a mere 3.1 percent of the total.
By the bye, that’s about five times more than Australia has donated.
Tiktok(!!) has donated more to the ACT Alliance than Qatar, Iceland, Finland, Ireland, Greece and Luxembourg have, respectively. And Mark Zuckerberg(!!!) has donated 2 ½ times what Tiktok has.
By rights, COVAX should have been for everyone. Literally everyone. Every single country should have pooled its capacity and leveraged state powers to make the vaccines as widely and cheaply available as humanly possible.
It sounds blindingly obvious when you actually say it out loud.
Every self-respecting epidemiologist will tell you that you need to treat the population as a whole to get the quickest and most effective end to disease transmission. Rich or poor, a hotspot is a hotspot and should be triaged first.
That was Professor Crabb’s point in the SMH today.
And yet, it’s been every country for itself in the rush to acquire vaccines. And China, a COVAX member, has even been accused of showing a willingness to use access to its vaccines as a soft power lever.
We can only hope that Australia will not be drawn into a tit-for-tat in PNG and elsewhere in the Pacific. Even to hint that a non-Chinese vaccine (or vice versa) might be more advantageous to their future relationship would be infuriating and likely to cause lasting diplomatic damage.
The last thing anyone needs in this environment is for public figures to start showing a preference for one vaccine over another. They are all demonstrably safe and effective.
It is trivially easy to envision how a truly global rollout could work. It would be huge, clumsy, cumbersome, expensive, inefficient… and effective. But for reasons that defy… er, reason, no prominent world leader appears to have even discussed the possibility.
Pardon the Dickensian finish, but this pandemic is providing future historians with some of the best examples we’ve seen in a century of our genius for creation, and for self-destruction.
Volumes will be written about the incredible advances we made in response to this crisis, and how we squandered them through complacency, selfishness and petty, tawdry one-upmanship.
It is to weep.