The pandemic problem is to be considered solved or in the process of being solved in those countries that have been able to manage it. Not for the others. Unfortunately, we are among these
Can we consider Covid-19 a solved problem? The question may seem absurd in a country that has just confirmed and in some ways accentuated restrictions, and in a continent where governments still close certain borders. But it is entirely reasonable if we look at the international data on infections and vaccinations. Countries that have accelerated the procurement and diffusion of vaccines, quickly switching to single-dose, break down infections beyond expectations. The macroscopic case is Israel, which has already vaccinated over 90 percent of the population and is now giving away the remaining vaccines to some poor countries. But the United States is also heading in the same direction. The Biden administration has made a change, while not abandoning the Trumpian concept of “America First”, offering attractive conditions to pharmaceutical companies in exchange for rapid supplies and thus making it convenient for companies to direct production to the United States. It has also enhanced the logistics to speed up the inoculation. The recent approval of the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine will further accentuate a process that has already led the country to a 25 percent vaccine rate (remember that the minimum rate for herd immunity is around 65 percent). Post-Brexit UK is also giving a good try, with over 30 per cent vaccinated. It is by no means excluded, indeed it is probable, that these countries and others in the same vein will be able, once the summer season arrives and the strategy is carried forward further, to turn the page definitively.
The common feature of these countries lies in having deployed all the necessary financial and logistical resources. Whatever it takes, one might say. And it’s worth it. Clemens Fuerst and Daniel Gros show in a recent article that the price per dose needed to induce pharmaceutical companies to accelerate production is negligible compared to the advantage, even if only economic, of putting each additional person away from the virus. It is therefore not advisable to negotiate beyond a certain limit on price margins, or to enter into conflict with companies by disputing alleged defaults. Better to change the conditions offered by making them not only more favorable, but above all rewarding in the event of early delivery. Unfortunately, this is not the strategy of the European Union so far.