Vaccinate the World! Yes okay, thank you.

Hello Ethic Nutters,

Here is a news clip I would like to comment on. Link:

As the pandemic now enters a new phase with the Omicron variant, many are still asking the question: Why can developed nations vaccinate their citizens with a third dose, when many in the developing have not received their first dose?

I have seen videos where very prominent Ethicists will state the answer is to vaccinate the world as though this declaration is an achievement in coming to a solution that has baffled others. As though it were, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, an excited grade 1 student answering the teacher’s question with a response that is good for a simple understanding, but of course not perhaps the most realistic and practical.

Everyone wants the world vaccinated. Indeed that is the global effort. I think those with level heads realize however that it cannot be done in a manner of a few weeks. We cannot scale up the massive vaccination programs in individual countries to a global level. Many countries, as the video highlights with reference to another news story, do not have the capacity to vaccinate everyone. That is not a matter of ethics and morality, but one of development. Not only do many nations face similar but in fact exacerbated scenarios such as the US, that are facing large groups and populations within it that resist vaccination, but they also lack the ability to resolve it in any fashion similar to developed world solutions. Those working in international development recognize rightly that the developing world lacks capacity and that it is the developing world that must work together with each other to develop their specific solutions.

Not surprisingly the line of thinking that vaccinating the entire world would simply entail replicating what the West is doing, truly, as always, is fundamentally devoid of any contextual understanding of the developing world. This cookie-cutter thinking will of course not work and barriers that exist comprised of unique cultural, historical, geographical realities will remain.

To say now that because people in the developing world do not have their first dose, although perhaps have been given enough supplies, those in the developed world e.g. Canada should wait is ludicrous. Wait to have a third dose until absolutely everyone in the entire world as a first? That would be a long wait if we just take populations in the United States.

A final comment which was the driving motivation for my post on Partiality although not specifically discussed is the following. We have moral duties to our fellow countrymen and women, that we simply do not have with everyone in the world. A Politician or local health authority, as an absolute moral duty, to provide the best care possible to those they govern than to those they do not. Although it is nice to think globally, we do not have responsibility for everyone on earth. That is imperialism and egotistical.