Debunking the Arguments for Vaccine Apartheid

“Wait your turn” is not epidemiologically sound

Cory Doctorow
Medium Coronavirus Blog


Photo: Vishal Bhutani/Unsplash

The Biden administration’s (carefully worded) support for a WTO IP waiver on vaccines may not be the full-throated support the issue warrants, but it was still a complete reversal of decades of subservience to Big Pharma, and the industry is waging all-out war.

The arguments against allowing poor countries to make their own vaccines are a mix of racist condescension (“poor brown people are too primitive to make high-tech vaccines”), misdirection (“patents aren’t the problem”) and bad faith (“we don’t have enough materials”).

Writing for Counterpunch, Sonali Kolhatkar teases apart each of these arguments. Take the argument that poor countries can’t make vaccines — laughable on its face, given India’s centrality to the world’s vaccine supply.

The problem isn’t that India doesn’t know how to make vaccines — the problem is that India’s brutal, variant-driven outbreak has caused the country to hit pause on exports, halting the supply of vaccines to much of…