[This article was first published in Catalonia Today magazine, May 2021.]
|[Photo: Oriol Duran, Barcelona.]|
A week ago, I had my second dose of Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at Bellvitge Hospital in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat just outside Barcelona.
I’m in this category because since the campaign started in Catalonia on December 27 last year, at the time of writing, 1,572,518 residents had been given the first dose of the various vaccines.
Naturally, I don’t want to sound ungrateful. I don’t want to sound at all petty. I’m one of the biggest supporters of public health systems anywhere on this planet of marvels and mysteries.
I accept that some causes for delays have been outside local authorities’ control. One case in point was the closure of the Eurotunnel in the English Channel just before Christmas.
Of course, that was 4 months ago now. And yes, I know there are plans to quicken the pace so that 70% of the population have been covered by the end of August. Plans don’t impress me. Well-coordinated action does.
There are other parts of the world that have done this task much more efficiently. Unsurprisingly maybe, places like Australia and New Zealand who’ve had relatively few cases of Covid have also already begun vaccination programs.
While I’m all riled up, I’ll mention another related point. Now that it seems agreed that there’s going to be some kind of special travel “passport” for the pre-vaccinated elite like me in Europe, I have to ask about what’s going to happen to everyone else in the next few months leading into and through the summer?
What about the opportunity to travel across borders (is it even a human right?) Children, young people, many immigrant adults and all those not lucky enough to be immunised are clearly going to be discriminated against.
And here’s another crucial error. I was arguing from the very start of scientific investigation into a vaccine that it should be centrally run by the World Health Organisation and an enhanced European Medicines Agency.
But I suppose that wouldn’t have been a financial shot in the arm for the pharma giants, would it?