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Slaugytoja ruošiasi paskiepyti AstraZeneca/Oxford vakciną pagal COVAX schemą nuo koronavirusinės ligos (COVID-19) Eka Kotebe bendrojoje ligoninėje Adis Abeboje, Etiopijoje, 13 m. kovo 2021 d. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri
Vyras demonstruoja AstraZeneca COVISHIELD vakcinos buteliuką, kai šalis gauna pirmąją koronavirusinės ligos (COVID-19) vakcinos partiją pagal COVAX schemą Akroje, Ganoje, 24 m. vasario 2021 d. REUTERS/Francis Kokoroko
Europos Komisijos pirmininkė Ursula von der Leyen po kolegijos posėdžio ES Komisijos būstinėje Briuselyje, Belgijoje 19 m. balandžio 14 d. paskelbė pareiškimą dėl ES vakcinos nuo koronaviruso ligos (COVID-2021) strategijos. John Thys/Pool per REUTERS

Last April, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen added Europe to a global effort to ensure equitable access to a vaccine, which she said would be deployed “to every single corner of the world”, rašo Francesco Guarascio ir John Chalmers.

Tačiau nepaisant pažadų milijardus dolerių Pasaulio sveikatos organizacijos (PSO) sukurtai programai ir viešai jai pritarti, Europos Sąjungos pareigūnai ir valstybės narės ne kartą padarė sprendimus, kurie pakenkė kampanijai, vidaus dokumentams, kuriuos matė Reuters, ir interviu su ES pareigūnais bei diplomatais. Rodyti.

A year after its launch, Europe and the rest of the world have yet to donate a single dose through the vaccine scheme, which is part of an unprecedented effort to distribute vaccines, tests and drugs to fight the pandemic. Diplomats say Europe’s ambivalence stemmed partly from short supplies and a slack start to the global campaign, but also from concerns that the EU’s efforts would go unnoticed in a vaccine diplomacy war where highly publicised promises from China and Russia were winning ground, even in its own backyard.

Programa, kuriai vadovauja tarptautinės agentūros ir Pasaulinis vakcinų ir imunizacijos aljansas (GAVI), yra masinio pirkimo platforma, skirta dalytis dozėmis visame pasaulyje. Tačiau buvusio JAV prezidento Donaldo Trumpo administracijai atsukus nugarą PSO, planas, vadinamas COVAX, lėtai susilaukė palaikymo ir buvo sutelktas į turtingų šalių lėšų panaudojimą, kad būtų nupirktos dozės mažiau išsivysčiusioms šalims.

Von der Leyen presented Europe’s support for the COVAX campaign as a gesture of international unity. EU officials privately cast the bloc’s vaccine aims in a less altruistic light.

“It’s also about visibility,” that is, public relations, Ilze Juhansone, Secretary-General of the EU Commission and the Commission’s top civil servant, told ambassadors at a meeting in Brussels in February, according to a diplomatic note seen by Reuters. Juhansone declined to comment.

A senior diplomat said many of those at that meeting felt Europe, which is by far the largest exporter of vaccines in the West, had goals that would be better served by plastering “more blue flags with yellow stars” on vaccine parcels and sending them out itself, rather than through COVAX.

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Brussels, which is coordinating vaccine deals with its members, has reserved a huge surplus – 2.6 billion doses for a population of 450 million so far. It has promised nearly €2.5 billion ($3bn) in support to COVAX. That made the EU the biggest funder until the administration of US President Joe Biden pledged $4n this year to the plan, which aims to distribute 2 billion doses by the end of the year.

But supplies for Europe’s own population are behind schedule, and despite giving funds, the EU and its 27 governments have also hampered COVAX in several ways. Like other rich countries, EU nations decided not to buy their own vaccines through COVAX, and competed with it to buy shots when supplies were tight. All except Germany offered the overall programme less cash than requested.

More than this, Europe promoted a parallel vaccine donation system that it would run itself, to raise the EU’s profile.

“There is huge frustration because there is a feeling that right now the race is on but we’re not really out of the starting blocks,” a senior diplomat told Reuters.

“We’re spending money on COVAX and the return in terms of political visibility is nil.”

Rusija teigia norinti tiekti vakcinas šalims tiesiogiai. Kinija pažadėjo paremti COVAX. Tačiau tiek Maskva, tiek Pekinas turi atskirus susitarimus dėl daugiau nei 1 milijardo dozių pristatymo Afrikai, Lotynų Amerikai ir ES partneriams, pavyzdžiui, Turkijai, Egiptui, Marokui ir Balkanų valstybėms, kurios yra kandidatės prisijungti prie bloko.

Most doses will take time to be delivered, but Russia and China have already exported about twice COVAX’s deliveries of around 40 million doses.

Kovo mėnesį COVAX taip pat nukentėjo dėl vakcinų iš Indijos eksporto apribojimų, dėl kurių sulėtėjo tiekimas iš pagrindinio vakcinų tiekėjo.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has repeatedly urged rich countries to set aside nationalistic impulses and share vaccines, calling the current situation “a shocking imbalance.” Non-EU member Britain, for instance, has already injected about as many shots as COVAX has delivered to more than 100 countries.

COVAX pareigūnai „Reuters“ sakė, kad iki praėjusių metų pabaigos gavo pakankamai lėšų, tačiau jos buvo gautos vėliau nei tikėtasi.

A spokeswoman for GAVI, the vaccine alliance that runs the scheme and speaks for COVAX on such issues, said EU support had been “unequivocal” and it expects doses to be donated soon. The WHO added that von der Leyen’s personal support had been “invaluable.”

An EU Commission spokesman told Reuters COVAX had been very successful in structuring global collaboration and securing millions of doses. He called the programme “our best vehicle to deliver on international vaccines solidarity” and the EU’s “key channel for sharing vaccines.”

Part of COVAX’s difficulty is structural. Soon after it was set up, the wealthiest countries were sealing advance orders with drug companies to secure doses as they became available. The vaccination scheme has always relied on rich states for cash, which they have been slow to give.

COVAX aimed to be a platform for countries to buy vaccines, which would give it bargaining power and allow it to dispense doses among those most in need worldwide. Recognising supplies would be tight, its initial aim was to distribute doses for at least 20% of each country’s populations to cover the people most at risk.

Pernai liepą vykusiame vidiniame posėdyje ES Komisijos pareigūnas ambasadoriams pareiškė, kad valstybės narės neturėtų pirkti savo šūvių per COVAX, nes jie bus pristatyti per lėtai, rodo diplomatinės notos. Vėliau Komisija nustatė tikslą iki rugsėjo pabaigos paskiepyti 70 % suaugusiųjų ES.

Kitą mėnesį COVAX pakeitė kai kurias savo sąlygas, siekdamas įtikinti turtingas šalis prisijungti, tačiau nė viena ES šalis nepasirašė, kad naudotų platformą savo vakcinacijos akcijoms. ES suteikė COVAX finansines garantijas apmokėti už vakcinas, bet taip pat apsunkino COVAX tai padaryti, susitardama nupirkti daug daugiau dozių, nei reikia blokui.

In November, the EU pledged more money to COVAX, but only after it had signed contracts with vaccine makers for nearly 1.5 billion doses – more than half Brussels’ estimate then of global production capacity for this year, internal documents show.

Nors Europa rezervavo tokią didelę dalį, Komisija tą mėnesį vykusiame susitikime diplomatams pasakė, kad COVAX per lėtai įsigyja dozes.

Tada Komisija iškėlė galimybę sukurti savo mechanizmą, skirtą šūviams siųsti į neturtingas ES nepriklausančias šalis.

Within a month, France started to flesh out that plan. Shots would be sent directly from manufacturers – possibly before deliveries started through COVAX – and labelled as “Team Europe” donations, a draft plan said.

Toks žingsnis, kurį tuo metu atskleidė „Reuters“, sukėlė COVAX pareigūnų pasipiktinimą. Skaityti daugiau

One told Reuters in April the plan was driven by France’s desire to get shots to Africa, where France formerly had colonies, and smacked of colonialism. French diplomats said they never showed a preference for any country, and Africa was most in need.

EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said in mid-January the EU’s own plan would go ahead – because COVAX was not yet fully operational. Countries to focus on would include the Western Balkans, the EU’s southern and eastern neighbours and Africa.

The next month, having reserved more than 2 billion doses but with actual deliveries hit by production problems, the EU doubled COVAX funding to €1bn. Russia and China had already delivered millions of doses across the world. COVAX had yet to deliver any. And France’s President Emmanuel Macron was publicly losing patience.

Europe and the United States should quickly send enough vaccines to Africa to inoculate the continent’s healthcare workers or risk losing influence to Russia and China, Macron said in a speech at a security conference, without specifying how these donations should be made.

Unless rich countries speeded up deliveries, “our friends in Africa will, under justified pressure from their people, buy doses from the Chinese and the Russians,” Macron told the conference. “And the strength of the West will be a concept, and not a reality.” Skaityti daugiau

Despite Macron’s urgency, France’s cash support for the overall WHO programme – to cover tests and treatments as well as vaccines – was limited.

The WHO asked countries for contributions in proportion to their economic power. France has committed $190 million – about 13% of the $1.2 billion requested, a WHO document dated March 26 shows.

Kitų ES šalių įnašai taip pat gerokai mažesni, nei tikimasi; kai kurie davė nulį. Tačiau Vokietija padėjo tai kompensuoti viešai pažadėdama 2.6 mlrd. USD, gerokai daugiau nei prašoma 2 mlrd.

French diplomats said the country’s contributions are expected to increase soon.

Vasario 24 d. COVAX išsiuntė pirmąsias vakcinas. ES sušvelnino savo kritiką.

At a meeting on 9 March, at the height of the European Union’s own problems in procuring shots for its own citizens, a Commission official told diplomats COVAX was the main tool for donating vaccines to other countries.

But the official said Europe still needed its own mechanism, because COVAX had money, but only a tiny portion of the shots it needed. And the EU scheme would have “the advantage of giving us visibility,” the official said.

At that same meeting, EU ambassadors were shown data compiled by the EU’s foreign affairs service which those present said revealed how far the bloc’s vaccine diplomacy was lagging behind its competitors.

Jie sužinojo, kad Rusija dešimtims šalių užsakė 645 milijonus vakcinos Sputnik V COVID-19 dozių, o Kinija siunčia milijonus dozių ES kaimynėms, rodo duomenys.

“We are completely out of this game,” one of the diplomats who was there told Reuters.

„Reuters“ negalėjo tiksliai patvirtinti duomenų. Tačiau Jungtinių Tautų agentūros UNICEF, kuri bendradarbiauja su COVAX vakcinų pristatymo srityje, surinkti skaičiai rodo, kad Rusija sudarė sandorių pristatyti beveik 600 mln. dozių, įskaitant ES valstybes. Kinija sudarė sandorius parduoti apie 800 milijonų dozių, įskaitant sutartis su tokiomis Europos šalimis kaip Serbija, Ukraina ir Albanija.

Later that month the EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, made the point candidly: “The EU is the major driver behind COVAX,” he wrote in a blog on 26 March. “But we do not get the recognition that the countries using bilateral vaccine diplomacy do.”

Antradienį ES Komisija pareiškė, kad ES nuo gegužės pagal ES schemą pasidalins daugiau nei pusę milijono dozių su Balkanų šalimis. Tai buvo praėjus dviem savaitėms po to, kai COVAX pristatė pirmuosius kadrus į regioną. Skaityti daugiau

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