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The Guardian view on pandemic politics: we need cooperation, not confrontation | Editorial

Vaccinating the world is the only way out of Covid, but a mixture of nationalism and protectionism is blocking the exit

Covid-19 has proved to be the greatest humanitarian and economic disaster of the century. A reported 2.7 million people have already died from the pathogen. Its recession is estimated to be twice as deep as that associated with the 2008 crash. Ultimately, the only way out of the pandemic is to vaccinate the world. Yet there has been an alarming outbreak of a “my country first” approach to vaccine allocation. In February, the US announced that it would not donate any doses to poor countries until it had a plentiful supply. Fewer than 10 days later, India cracked down on vaccine exports. These are political decisions, as no one doubts either country’s ability to vaccinate their own populations.

That is why the EU’s threat to limit the export of locally produced vaccines is so concerning. Brussels has enough vaccines. Having stumbled, the bloc’s leaders know it looks bad to see doses leaving the EU for Britain, which has already vaccinated half its population. European leaders should realise that only cooperation can end the pandemic. Without worldwide coordination, there will be no way to get jabs to the 8 billion people on the planet. Vaccinating the globe at once has never been done. “But if we can put a rover on Mars,” the director general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, wrote in the Guardian this month, “we can surely produce billions of vaccines and save lives on earth.”

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Read the original article at The Guardian

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