International Relations

Globalization and the vaccine

Thank Globalization for the fast development of Vaccines. 

COVID19 hit the world about a year ago, across the world various national and international agencies started to work fast to develop a vaccine which would work, in fact if there was a word that brought hope to millions of people across the world, it was ‘vaccine’. 

By November last year, many scientists were in the final stages of inventing a vaccine. By December the UK had already started to roll out Pfizer’s vaccine. What exactly aided this super fast development of a vaccine? Ask any scientist and they’ll tell you that the COVID19 vaccine was developed in record breaking time, it was incredible to see scientists, doctors and medical experts work round the clock to make this happen. But the important factor which was overlooked by many people was the role Globalization played in aiding the rapid development of the vaccine. 

Let’s first be clear that Globalization is not just the mere transfer of goods from one county to another but it also includes increased exchanges of information, technology, ideas and values. It took a Global network of doctors and scientists from various nations to find the cure, the success of the vaccine wasn’t claimed by one country, it was a Global effort which happened only because of increased cooperation among nations. 

Once the vaccine was developed, it now had to be produced and manufactured, this again was aided by Globalization. Some countries like India had the capacity to produce record breaking numbers of the vaccine and some countries did not, however it was the robust International trade framework that allowed countries to export and import vaccines for their population, without Globalization, this would have been impossible to do. Globalization aids and promotes free trade, an important instrument which allows us to ensure that economic benefits are spread across the world. 

Globalization is much more than an economic doctrine, it is a fundamental belief that the world is one family. We have to work together and exchange ideas if we have to have a planet that works for all of us. The Pandemic has been an excellent example as to why globalization works for all of us. Factors like increased funding from countries, more cooperation when it comes to immunization programmes, peer reviews etc all aided the vaccine development. The benefit of this eventually will be passed on to all of us. 

Bashing Globalization for our problems is quite easy, many thinkers and intellectuals constantly do this, the boogey man has always been globalization in the last two decades but the vaccine development process in record time is proof enough that the fake narrative that Globalization is bad needs to be buried. It does not make sense. 

In India, we were able to manufacture a vaccine that was developed by Oxford University in the UK. The manufacturing was done by Serum institute in India who then exported the vaccine to many nations. This way a chain of events happened in quick succession which made sure the vaccine was available to thousands of front line workers and doctors. 

Similarly, the UK rolled out Pfizer’s vaccine which was developed by an American company. Russia’s Sputnik vaccine is also scheduled to be manufactured in India. Imagine a world without Globalization, the lack of interconnectedness among nations would have resulted in each country having to develop and manufacture their own vaccine. This would have led to huge delays in the roll out of the vaccine, the end result would have been the loss of human life.  Low income Countries who have already been hit hard by the Pandemic would have to spend millions to develop a vaccine, this would have only led to more economic chaos. 

President Clinton remarked “No generation has had the opportunity, as we now have, to build a global economy that leaves no-one behind. It is a wonderful opportunity, but also a profound responsibility.” A global economy based on increased cooperation and integration among the nations of the world is the need of the hour. The Pandemic has just proved this.

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