A Pandemic Peace Treaty Coming Soon?

Health & Education

Many have said that our experiences of COVID-19 resemble being in another world war. Except this time, it’s a war against a virus. 

Hospitals are overrun, travel is shut, and people are told to stay indoors. Can we see a treaty come out COVID-19 as we have seen from wars? 

I wrote in a previous blog post on how developed countries, such as the UK and the United States, are using up valuable COVID-19 vaccines and preventing other nations from being able to obtain any. However, Boris Johnson has now joined 24 world leaders in fighting global pandemics through a possible pandemic treaty.  

Many world leaders, such as Angela Merkel and Emanuel Macron, have claimed that the current pandemic has been the biggest challenge since World War Two. They also warned that another health emergency was a matter of “not if, but when” and that “nobody is safe until everyone is safe”. 

The 24 leaders argue that a treaty is needed in a similar fashion to World War Two to bring cross-border cooperation. The head of the World Health Organization Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus commented a treaty would ” address the challenges that could only be achieved together in the spirit of solidarity and co-operation – namely peace, prosperity, health and security.”

One of the goals from the treaty would be a more efficient system of detecting pandemics and alerting citizens. Another goal Is to improve the sharing of data and distribution of vaccines and personal protective equipment. 

My previous post criticizes that wealthier countries will use up all resources first and then “donate” the doses they do not need to countries who cannot purchase or get the supply they need. High-income counties, which have a population of 1 billion, have secured about 4.2 billion doses. These doses account for 74% of total government orders. In contrast, middle-income and low-income countries have only secured only 675 million doses 

In my opinion, a pandemic treaty is great in theory, and cross-border cooperation is never a bad thing. However, if we are really going to take the term “nobody is safe until everyone is safe” seriously, we need to make sure that everyone has an equal chance of vaccinating their populations. If not, we will see this pandemic continue for many years. 

If we are going to vaccinate all of the populations of the UK and the United States first, and then worry about other countries getting vaccines later, it really defeats the purpose of vaccines in general. Other countries where COVID-19 is active may then develop new strains that could possibly make our current vaccines useless. 

To achieve global herd immunity with COVID-19, all countries need to be given a fair chance. 

The aims were clear: To bring countries together, to dispel the temptations of isolationism and nationalism, and to address the challenges that could only be achieved together in the spirit of solidarity and co-operation – namely peace, prosperity, health and security.”

By Anusheh Khan on 30/03/2021