Several companies worldwide are doing research to find a cure for COVID-19. However, it is not certain that the vaccine will be affordable for most people. In fact, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has admitted that he is not sure about whether the vaccine will be available for all Americans. Things get more complex when we look at the international level, as the difference between developed and developing nations becomes clearly visible. If a vaccine will not be affordable to poor people in the United States, it will definitely not be affordable for millions of people in African nations.
A cheap vaccine
Various world governments and organizations are pumping millions of dollars into COVID-19 vaccine research. Since these efforts are largely funded through taxpayers’ money and donations, any vaccine that results from this should inevitably be made available for everyone. However, this need not be the case. Pharma companies might insist that nations uphold a free market policy and allow the market to dictate the prices. While the argument is not wrong under normal circumstances, what the companies should keep in mind is that circumstances are currently far from normal.
We are talking about an infection that can potentially kill millions of people worldwide and sink the global economy into a prolonged depression. As such, the governments should insist that pharma companies manufacture vaccines at cost or with a small margin of profit. Allowing firms to dictate the pricing of a CCP coronavirus vaccine would be a crime against humanity. However, even if pharma companies agree to supply vaccines at cost, another problem still plagues us — the cost itself might not be affordable.
Johnson & Johnson estimated that a COVID-19 vaccine could cost around US$10 per dose. For countries like the U.S, this is good news since US$10 is pretty affordable for most people. However, for poor nations, even US$10 a dose is too high. A family of four will basically have to shell out US$40 for vaccination. Adding distribution costs, the prices will be even higher. NGOs and governments might be able to fund free vaccines to poor people to some extent. But most of the poorer sections will likely remain unvaccinated.
This will pose a major problem to these nations since a large, unvaccinated population will continue to spread the virus and keep the economy suppressed. There is also the risk that the CCP coronavirus might mutate in these countries, eventually spreading to fully vaccinated nations, thereby triggering another cycle of viral outbreak worldwide. As such, if we want to keep everyone in the world safe from COVID-19, it is essential that everyone gets vaccinated. And the only way to make this happen is to develop a truly cheap vaccine that is affordable in every nation.
Mathematical models are predicting tough times ahead for the U.S. when it comes to dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak. A forecast by the University of Washington states that nearly 180,000 Americans will die from COVID-19 by October 1. On the plus side, the report states that the death toll could fall to around 146,000 if 95 percent of Americans wear masks. At present, the U.S. has reported over 2.5 million infections and 127,000 deaths.
Cases of COVID-19 infections have spiked as of late in the U.S. The governors of New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut have instituted strict quarantine protocols for visitors from other states. In May, the virus had shown signs of slowing down. However, now it looks as if it is spreading into deep, rural areas that were previously the least affected.