The world should work together to battle the coronavirus pandemic, with richer nations donating surplus vaccines to poorer ones, Jordan’s Queen Rania said on Monday.
She said the Covid-19 pandemic had uncovered and reinforced global inequalities.
“We are all in a race against a pandemic, not against each other. I see no reason why those who have excess supply can’t donate their surplus to poorer countries, and I’m glad that some countries have committed to doing just that,” she told CNN in an interview, warning against vaccine nationalism.
The People’s Vaccine Alliance found in December that nine out of 10 people in 67 of the world’s poorest nations are unlikely to be vaccinated against the respiratory disease in 2021.
Meanwhile, some of the world’s richest nations have ordered far more than they require – only 14 per cent of the world’s population have bought 53 per cent of available vaccines.
What’s more, Queen Rania said, recovery from the economic impact was bound to hit poorer nations harder.
“I feel a very potent anger among people because of the inequality that we see,” she told Becky Anderson during the 20th Warwick Economics Summit.
“This pandemic has really revealed and reinforced cracks in our world order along the lines of income inequality, gender inequity, social injustice, and you can’t add health inequality on top of that,” she said.
“It’s an imperative to make sure vaccine equity is a priority.”
Campaign group Global Justice Now has called on research institutions and pharmaceutical companies to share their “science, technological know-how and intellectual property” to ensure enough vaccines are produced.
Covid-19 has infected more than 106 million people and killed 2.3 million. Jordan has reported more than 330,000 cases and 4,358 deaths.
King Abdullah, Queen Rania’s husband, shared his vaccination experience to encourage Jordanians to register for the vaccine.
“I experienced some mild side effects, and I felt tired and had trouble sleeping for a couple of days after receiving the shot, but that is a small price to pay compared with actually catching the virus,” he said in January.
The kingdom began its own vaccination programme on January 13 and became one of the first nations to start vaccinating refugees, UNHCR said.
“Once again Jordan has shown exemplary leadership and solidarity in hosting refugees. The country has included refugees in every aspect of the public health response to the pandemic, including the national vaccination campaign, proving how it should be done if we are to keep everyone safe,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi said in January.
“I appeal to all countries to follow suit and include refugees in their vaccination drives on par with nationals and in line with Covax allocation principles.”