As we start celebrating World Immunization Week (24-30 April 2020), and amid the current Covid-19 pandemic, Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ) calls on the international community to unite in an unprecedented fashion in order to find a successful vaccine against Covid-19.
The objective of World Immunization Week is to promote the principle of vaccination for all as the most efficient and cost-effective health intervention. There will be time to study the origins of the virus, to evaluate and compare the initial responses by the different Governments and International Organizations. The sole objective of States, and the international community, is forward thinking: to limit the infection rate and to search for a successful vaccine that could eliminate this threat for a significant portion of Humanity.
In the absence of tools and strategies for an ethical immunization of the world’s population against Covid-19, it is crucial to understand the reasons for limiting the infection rate: it prevents deaths and the over-saturation of hospitals, as well as prevent the collapse of healthcare systems.
Such healthcare systems will be crucial in administering a future vaccine. This means that economies will take a hit, this is a reality. But economies will come out of this crisis stronger and better prepared in the future.
GICJ cautions States and companies against opening their economies and businesses to hastily. The virus is still among us and is only requesting more potential carriers. Our organization regrets the decisions made by some US states to quickly opening their economies, to the detriment of its population, considering only private business interests.
The most effective way of finding a vaccine is for the international community to unite. Many countries are already testing different potential vaccines. The more tests are undertaken the more likely it is that a vaccine will be found promptly. Playing the blaming game, fomenting the fear of foreigners, exploiting the crisis to advance international prestige, these are grotesque acts which are unfaithful to principles of human rights and simple decency.
A vaccine is inevitable. The questions and concerns lie in what happens afterwards. As such, GICJ reminds the international community that any future vaccine must be made quickly available to all human beings. This will require an unprecedented level of coordination and logistics. This is therefore not a time to undermine the work of the World Health Organization. It is time to put aside differences and band together. Every government must understand that eliminating the virus in one country means eliminating it on their own.
The international community must not neglect immunization efforts against other infectious diseases. There is a danger of focusing too much on Covid-19 that the world could see the resurgence of other epidemics.
GICJ is optimistic at its core. Change is possible and there will be a world after this pandemic. This world might be slightly different but likely more conducive to prevent future threats to Humanity in the future if, and only if, the international community puts its trust in cooperation and unity.
Continue reading about COVID-19 and human rights in our previous articles here:
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