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El mes pasado, un periodista peruano denunció en su programa televisivo que los ensayos clínicos de la vacuna china Sinopharm, patrocinados por una universidad del país andino, arrojaban conclusiones preliminares ciertamente alarmantes. Según éstas, dos variantes de dicha vacuna tendrían, respectivamente, una eficacia de sólo el 33% y el 11%, lo que provocó el consiguiente terremoto político en Perú toda vez que la vacunación en ese país se ha confiado fundamentalmente a esa vacuna. La Organización Mundial de la Salud considera que, si la eficacia es inferior al 50%, los riesgos de su administración sobrepasan a los beneficios.

La supuesta ineficacia de la vacuna china reflejada en dicho estudio coincide con la tendencia al alza que, en el número de contagios, arroja la estadística oficial desde el inicio de la campaña de vacunación en Perú, hace ya dos meses.…  Seguir leyendo »

Colas de espera a las puertas del hospital Isabel Zendal, en Madrid, para la vacunación. Reuters

A la vista de cómo se ha manejado la información durante esta pandemia (desde todos los puntos de vista: político y económico incluidos), era previsible que, tras el comienzo de la vacunación, las noticias se centraran más en las complicaciones que en los beneficios de esta.

Apenas leemos noticias acerca de cuánto retrocede la pandemia en países como Reino Unido o Israel fruto del incremento de los porcentajes de población inmunizada. Sólo vemos los efectos indeseables de las vacunas.

Falta prudencia y sobra sensacionalismo.

No voy a hacer un análisis científico de las vacunas, que me podrían rebatir con facilidad. Tampoco voy a entrar en diatribas políticas o comerciales, aunque estoy convencido de que existen y de que alimentan gran parte de la actual confusión.…  Seguir leyendo »

A notice about a shortage of covid vaccines is seen at a vaccination center in Mumbai, India, on Thursday. (Francis Mascarenhas/Reuters)

Americans will not be safe from covid-19 until the entire world is safe. That basic truth shows why vaccine nationalism is not only immoral but also counterproductive. But the simplest solutions are rarely the correct ones, and some countries are using the issue to advance their own strategic interests. The Biden administration must reject the effort by some nations to turn our shared crisis into their opportunity.

As the inequities of vaccine distribution worldwide grow, a group of more than 50 developing countries led by India and South Africa is pushing the World Trade Organization to dissolve all international intellectual property protections for pandemic-related products, which would include vaccine research patents, manufacturing designs and technological know-how.…  Seguir leyendo »

People wearing masks in Paris on April 1. (Michel Euler/AP)

A few months after covid-19 burst onto the world stage, it seemed clear why some countries were doing well and others poorly. Places that had strong, effective governments — China, Taiwan, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, Germany — suffered few deaths from the virus. Places with weak leadership and bureaucracies that were dysfunctional — the United States, Britain, Italy, Chile, Brazil — did poorly.

But now, one year into the pandemic, the situation is somewhat more complicated. Many European countries that had gotten the virus under control have now seen sharp spikes in cases. Some countries that were pummeled by the virus have done very well with vaccinations.…  Seguir leyendo »

‘While Covid-19 did not create health disparities between Israelis and Palestinians, it certainly highlighted them – and offered a window into how decades of occupation and discrimination have expanded the gaps between the populations.’ Photograph: Mohammed Saber/EPA

The US media has widely lauded Israel’s vaccine success - as a country in a “post-pandemic future” of concerts and indoor dining; as a country that could teach the United States a few lessons in pandemic management; as a country that, despite being in the midst of a contentious election, leaned on its robust universal public health system to vaccinate as many people as possible. However, many of these vaccine success stories mention the issue of Palestinian vaccines in passing, as an unresolved “controversy,” “debate,” or just another instance of Palestinians and Israelis being unable to agree on anything.

The difference couldn’t be more stark – two populations living under one regime, heading in opposite directions in the struggle with Covid-19.…  Seguir leyendo »

«Nos pasa que no sabemos bien lo que pasa». El axioma de Ortega nos sirve como guía en esta hora de la UE donde la vacunación de la población que resulta un factor crítico de éxito (y supervivencia) ante la pandemia arroja un pobre desempeño de la Unión. Ante la desilusión y malestar de sus ciudadanos que, con sonrojo, comprueban que el ritmo de vacunación en el continente nos deja hasta la fecha muy alejados del Reino Unido –con una tasa de 40,5 vacunados por cada 100 habitantes– o de Estados Unidos –con 34,5 dosis–. A gran distancia, en los Veintisiete alcanzamos una exigua tasa de 12 dosis, apenas el 4,1% de la población.…  Seguir leyendo »

¡A la cola!

El Gobierno de España ha impuesto un método de distribución de las vacunas contra el virus Covid-19 aparentemente equitativo pero que atenta contra la libertad y la salud de los españoles. So capa de que las vacunas se distribuyen gratuitamente, se ha prohibido su compra por personas individuales, así como la vacunación en hospitales privados y farmacias. Quienes buscan evitar esa prohibición y se vacunan en el extranjero, cual las dos hermanas del Rey, son acusados de insolidaridad, como si estuvieran reduciendo el suministro de vacunas de sus compatriotas o estuviesen gastando el dinero de nuestros impuestos. El orden de prelación para vacunarse es el determinado por la autoridad estatal, que así disimula su incapacidad para adquirir a tiempo las dosis necesarias.…  Seguir leyendo »

Turkish health workers and officials have complained that Sinovac has been slow to deliver promised doses, hampering Turkey's response to the pandemic. (Kareem Fahim/The Washington Post)

Many Americans are breathing a sigh of relief. Across the United States, the vaccine rollout is gaining speed. By May 1, every U.S. adult will be eligible for inoculation.

But eligibility is far from equity — and around the world, the pandemic is far from over. Already, vast disparities are emerging in vaccine access — both within countries and between them — especially for Afro-descendant and Indigenous communities.

Within countries, the gaps are stark. In the United States, for example, White people remained nearly two times more likely to be vaccinated than their neighbors of color at the end of March.…  Seguir leyendo »

First badge of AstraZeneca/Oxford coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines, are being unloaded from a plane upon arrival at Khartoum International Airport in Sudan on 3 March 2021. Anadolu Agency/Mahmoud Hjaj

Can the Security Council help hasten the end of the COVID-19 pandemic? Its role in managing the global health crisis to date has been limited and at times embarrassing. After UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for a global ceasefire to facilitate humanitarian and medical responses to the virus in March 2020, Council members agreed to endorse the initiative. But they still took over three months to adopt a resolution on the issue, mainly thanks to bickering between the United States and China. By the time they signed off on a compromise text on 1 July, it was a dead letter: governments and armed groups that had responded positively to the Secretary-General’s initial call had already lost interest in it.…  Seguir leyendo »

Una solución al desconcierto de la vacunación en Europa

La COVID‑19 ha causado enorme sufrimiento en toda Europa, y la lentitud de la campaña de vacunación de la Unión Europea amenaza con prolongar la agonía. Si los gobiernos de la región no toman pronto medidas decididas, la pandemia puede causarle un daño irreversible a la UE misma.

Cuando el coronavirus se abatió sobre la región en 2020, los estados miembros de la UE no lograron acordar el modo de implementar una campaña de vacunación (principal línea de defensa contra la enfermedad). Los gobiernos nacionales confiaron la compra de vacunas a la Comisión Europea, pero no armonizaron las estrategias de producción y distribución ni consensuaron las prioridades entre distintos grupos de población.…  Seguir leyendo »

A menudo me preguntan por qué el Covid-19 ha originado tanto revuelo si hay enfermedades que causan más muertos. Es cierto, poco más de un año después de su aparición la cifra de fallecidos por Covid-19 ronda los 2,7 millones de personas en el mundo, mientras el cáncer es responsable de la muerte de unos 10 millones de personas al año. Los más escépticos me plantean si no nos hemos convertido en una sociedad con una aversión al riesgo exagerada, que nos ha llevado a aceptar un recorte de libertades sin precedentes a cambio de una supuesta protección de nuestra salud.…  Seguir leyendo »

Covishield vaccine administration in Gauhati, India. Refocusing on domestic supply has resulted in delays of global shipments under the Covax programme. Photograph: Anupam Nath/AP

As the UK’s vaccination programme was “knocked off course” due to a delay in receiving five million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from India, a far more chilling reality was unfolding: about a third of all humanity, living in the poorest countries, found out that they will get almost no coronavirus vaccines in the near future because of India’s urgent need to vaccinate its own massive population.

It’s somewhat rich for figures in Britain to accuse India of vaccine nationalism. That the UK, which has vaccinated nearly 50% of its adults with at least one dose, should demand vaccines from India, which has only vaccinated 3% of its people so far, is immoral.…  Seguir leyendo »

President Nicolás Maduro during an event at the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas on Feb. 12. (Ariana Cubillos/AP)

Last week, Venezuelans watched astonished — but not really surprised — as President Nicolás Maduro killed a carefully crafted agreement to allow the World Health Organization to bring coronavirus vaccines into the country. Citing now-debunked safety concerns about the AstraZeneca vaccine the WHO was offering, the regime appealed to “sanitary sovereignty” to hold out for a different vaccine.

This happened as the country grapples with a new deadly surge in virus cases, leaving hospitals overrun with the Brazilian variant, and Maduro peddles misinformation in the form of miracle cures. His callousness in delaying a WHO vaccine rollout was certainly appalling; it was by no means unprecedented.…  Seguir leyendo »

Dans une usine de vaccin en Inde, le 21 janvier. (Rafiq Maqbool/AP)

Nous sommes en pénurie de vaccins anti-Covid, cruciaux pour l’équilibre sanitaire, social, économique de nombreux pays. En France, à ce jour, moins de 12% de la population est vaccinée [a reçu au moins une dose, ndlr] et, au rythme actuel, les adultes français ne le seront pas tous avant le printemps 2022. Comment faire ? Au printemps 2020, Ursula von der Leyen et Emmanuel Macron avaient proposé une solution : faire des vaccins contre le Covid-19 des «bien publics mondiaux» échappant au monopole des industriels. Belles paroles qui ne furent jamais suivies d’actes. Il est aujourd’hui urgent de ne pas restreindre la production de doses aux seuls laboratoires détenteurs de brevets et de libérer les capacités de production des nations.…  Seguir leyendo »

China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, and UAE’s foreign minister, Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, at talks for the Hayat-Vax vaccine in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 28 March 2021. Photograph: WAM/Reuters

China’s leading vaccine just got rebranded. On Sunday 28 March, its major pharmaceutical company, Sinopharm, announced a new joint venture with G42, a UAE-based tech company: the vaccine is called Hayat-Vax, hayat meaning “life” in Arabic. The partnership shows immense promise as a new source of vaccines across the developing world.

But there’s a catch: a lack of scientific transparency in its phase III clinical trial data. A successful phase III trial is the golden seal confirming a jab’s efficacy once and for all. It allows scientists to observe possible side effects and make comparisons with placebo cases, while mirroring real-life conditions.…  Seguir leyendo »

La gestión del gobierno de Chile vinculada al proceso de vacunación contra el COVID-19, tanto las negociaciones con diferentes laboratorios a principios de la pandemia como la compra oportuna, dieron paso a una exitosa campaña de inoculación que llamó la atención internacional por la rapidez, eficacia y cobertura ejemplar. En un año de elecciones presidenciales y con un constante estado de crisis que ha marcado la actual administración, analistas y políticos intentan adelantar este hito como parte importante del legado que dejará el segundo mandato de Sebastián Piñera.

Chile se posicionó en pocas semanas como el líder latinoamericano y uno de los tres primeros países a nivel mundial.…  Seguir leyendo »

Former president Donald Trump was widely pilloried for playing down multilateral cooperation and the global trading order in favor of his “America First” mind-set. But Trump likely understood the nationalist underpinnings of foreign policy better than his critics. For evidence, look to recent efforts by the European Union and India to restrict exports of covid-19 vaccines produced in their territories.

Defenders of multilateralism and globalism often proclaim that their approaches to foreign policy and economic development are superior to nationalist focuses. They champion efforts such as the Paris climate accord or the Iran nuclear deal as ideal ways that nations can work in concert for the betterment of all.…  Seguir leyendo »

A Covid-19 vaccination centre at Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines velodrome near Paris. Photograph: Ian Langsdon/EPA

When the European Union launched its vaccination campaign three months ago, all 27 member countries officially began on the same day, a move designed to showcase their unity as they fought back against Covid-19. That gesture of confident camaraderie now feels quaint as EU countries tie themselves in knots over a bungled vaccine rollout. Each week seems to bring a new setback in the jab plans, with delivery delays, safety scares and flubbed administration all combining to slow down the EU’s overall programme.

Vaccination rates across the EU are a fraction of those in Britain, and way behind where the bloc had hoped to be at this stage.…  Seguir leyendo »

¿Se les impedirá a los negociadores del Sur Global asistir a la cumbre climática de las Naciones Unidas (COP26) en Glasgow en noviembre porque no están vacunados contra el COVID-19? Este escenario no se producirá, es de esperar, porque las autoridades de los países en desarrollo casi con certeza recibirán sus vacunas con anticipación. Pero que ellos vayan a querer negociar con las economías ricas que han venido acopiando vacunas no está tan claro.

Bienvenidos al 2021, donde las negociaciones climáticas globales podrían convertirse en un daño colateral del nacionalismo de vacunas. En tiempos normales, la manzana de la discordia entre países ricos y pobres era quién debía cargar con el peso de los esfuerzos para reducir las emisiones de dióxido de carbono.…  Seguir leyendo »

What Went Wrong With AstraZeneca?

The most important thing to know about AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine is that it’s safe and it works — in spite of the missteps that have marred nearly every stage of its rollout.

New data shared Monday showed the vaccine was 79 percent effective in preventing symptomatic infections in a trial of over 32,000 people, and the company said it would prepare to apply for emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration in the coming weeks.

But health officials said Tuesday that the results from the trial may have relied on “outdated information” that “may have provided an incomplete view of the efficacy data.”…  Seguir leyendo »