Vaccine equality

A note from the editor

Editorial Team

It’s the only Way

A feat of global collaboration. As Covid-19 vaccines emerged, the future seemed to open up again.

But amid the celebration lay a parallel story of inequality and corporate power.

Here on ‘Plague Island’, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has revelled in the success of the vaccine rollout. In March he apparently thanked ‘greed’ and ‘capitalism’ for this, during a call with Conservative MPs.

Yet the hoarding of vaccines – as demonstrated by the UK and other wealthy nations – can only have a negative impact on the world’s ability to stop the spread of the virus. This is not good news for people in Britain either. This may be an island, but we’re not a different planet.

If there were ever a time to be an internationalist, it’s now. It’s an urgent lesson to learn as the world faces multiple crises – from climate change and biodiversity collapse to a spike in hunger. It’s been New Internationalist’s message for nearly half a century and our in-depth, solutions-focused stories feel more important than ever.

In this edition, we are launching a new community share offer – a bid to stay in the fight for the next 50 years and fund our Covid rescue plan.

Get the back story in our departing co-editor Chris Brazier’s account of his 37-year career – from revolutionary Nicaragua to apartheid South Africa.

It’s as true now as it was in the early 1970s when we were founded: it’s internationalism or bust.

Editorial Team for the New Internationalist co-operative.
www.newint.org

The big story

Government officials pray over a storage box containing Covid-19 vaccines before they leave for various vaccination centres in Mumbai, India, in January this year. India is one of the countries that is calling for patents on Covid-19 vaccines to be waived during the pandemic. Photo: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg/Getty

Government officials pray over a storage box containing Covid-19 vaccines before they leave for various vaccination centres in Mumbai, India, in January this year. India is one of the countries that is calling for patents on Covid-19 vaccines to be waived during the pandemic.

Photo: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg/Getty

Who gets it?

Access to life-saving Covid-19 vaccines should not be reserved for the rich. But that is what’s happening on a global scale today. Heidi Chow calls for technology to be shared and patents to be suspended in order to unlock vaccine production for all.

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The Big Story

Photos clockwise from top left: Panoramic Images/Alamy, Tommy E Trenchard/Alamy, Zhang Kaiyv/Unsplash, Joel Muniz/Unsplash

Join the New Internationalist co-owner community

Husna Ara probes co-editor Amy Hall on why now, and what next…

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Action & info

Action & info

Links and information for taking action on vaccine inequality.

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Covid-19 vaccine drugs purchased by country-income level, as of mid-March1 *UN-backed global purchasing scheme

Vaccine equality - The facts

Who gets it? What's needed? What's on order? Who profits? Who lives?

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Illustration: James Thew/Alamy

The nuts and bolts

Covid-19 vaccines explained by Thomas Abraham.

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Illustration: Westend61 GMBH/Alamy

Dreams of magic bullets

Richard Swift warns against vaccine fantasy and kneejerk technophilia.

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French biochemist Louise Pasteur in his laboratory, where he developed pioneering vaccines against chicken cholera and rabies using ‘attenuated’ or weakened bacteria.Photo: GL Archive/Alamy

A history of vaccines

Swagata Yadavar traces the ups and downs in the history of vaccination.

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Making a point: Bill Gates addresses the media after his address to the World Health Assembly at the UN in Geneva.Photo: Reuters/Alamy

The Gates factor

Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates has a key role in shaping the global response to the pandemic. And it’s not good news for health equality. Nick Dowson investigates why.

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Yewande Oyetade, a medical laboratory technician in Lagos, Nigeria, collects samples for Covid-19 testing at the Agege Primary Health Centre.Photo: Andrew Esiebo/Panos

Scientific internationalism

It is thanks to scientists collaborating across borders that vaccines against Covid-19 have been developed so fast, argues Rajni George.

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A local art group, art360, painted this mural dedicated to the fight against the virus in the settlement of Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya.Photo: Gordwin Odhiambo/AFP/Getty

A silver lining

Despite the challenges of ensuring equal access, health expert Christopher Morgan is hopeful that the Covid-19 vaccine push is helping to shape a better future for global immunology. He speaks to Amy Hall.

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Lesson under a tree. Showing photographs and talking about the differences between Britain and Burkina Faso to a class of schoolchildren in 1995.Photo: Claude Sauvageot

New Internationalist: the first 50 years – and the next

Chris Brazier looks back over a career as a co-editor that stretches back to 1984, remembering highlights and dark moments from Nicaragua to Vietnam, South Africa to Western Sahara and Burkina Faso.

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All images accompanying this article are from Bihać, Bosnia, close to the border with Croatia. 
Worldly goods: an Afghan asylum-seeker with blankets and a sleeping bag donated by a local NGO, January 2021.  Due to their existence in unheated makeshift shelters, refugees often risk hypothermia and serious illness.Photo: Michele Amoruso

Beaten back

The vicious game of hounding out asylum-seekers in Europe continues in defiance of international law. Katie Dancey-Downs reports.

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Colour-co-ordinated laundry hanging out to dry in the background, children play in the parking lot of Cissie Gool House, an unused government hospital in the Woodstock neighbourhood, occupied by 700 evictees from the area since 2017.Image: Lerato Maduna

Fighting dispossession

Cape Town’s citizens’ groups are not taking housing injustice lying down, according to Ben Verghese and Ilham Rawoot.

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Libertad Gómez, who crossed the gender barrier to become adept in the traditional Zoque decorative artform of  making ceremonial offerings with mango leaves and flowers.Photo: Changiz M Varzi

Cresting the wave

Changiz M Varzi meets Mexican indigenous women artists who are defying convention.

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The expansion of fast-food brands in Africa is backed by powerful advertising such as this billboard on Kenyatta Avenue, a major street in the central business district of Nairobi, Kenya. The country is now home to 22 KFC outlets, which have paved the way for other international chains - Subway, Domino’s Pizza, Cold Stone Creamery - that are expanding into East Africa.Photo: Brian Inganga

When KFC came to Kenya

As Big Food spreads throughout the Global South using the tobacco playbook, Kabugi Mbae investigates the rise in obesity – and non-communicable diseases – in Kenya.

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Opinion

View from Africa

View from Africa

Nanjala Nyabola mourns the loss of Nairobi’s tree canopy and questions the expansion of cities.

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View from Brazil

View from Brazil

Lula is back in the game. After a court annulled all the sentences against him, Brazil’s ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is back in the running for the top job, writes Leonardo Sakamoto.

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View from India

View from India

Women experiencing violence from their partners need more than a helpline, says Nilanjana Bhowmick.

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Currents

Italy is under pressure to stop using offshore quarantine ferries like the Allegra.Photo: Karlos Zurutuza

Deadly quarantine

Italy is under pressure to stop using offshore quarantine ferries, reports Karlos Zurutuza.

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Meal finishers

Meal finishers

‘You won’t be upset if I finish your plate?’.

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Coal sting

Coal sting

German energy giant sues the Netherlands for compensation, reports Nick Dowson.

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Information soldier

Information soldier

India’s RTI – Right to Information – and tea-stall culture.

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Illustration: Emma Peer

Reasons to be cheerful

Rights at last; Off the gas; Clean up your mess.

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Regulars

Letters

Letters

Praise, blame and all points in between? Give us your feedback.

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Illustration: Sarah John

When we bury the truth

Iris Gonzales reflects on the human cost of the state’s war against its critics.

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Queue-jumpers

Queue-jumpers

From private vaccination schemes to public office misuse of power.

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Illustration: Ramón Díaz Yanes

Open Window

'Baño de sangre' ('Blood bath') by Ramón Díaz Yanes (Cuba).

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Fighting on all fronts. Samela, a 23-year-old activist from the Association of the Satere-Mawe Indigenous Women in Manaus, Amazonas in Brazil, co-ordinates the production of protective face masks.Photo: Raphael Alves/IMF/Creative Commons

Temperature check

Want to restore and protect the world’s forests? Then uphold the rights of the people who live in them, says Danny Chivers.

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Clockwise from top left: Two members of the Taz clan take part in a wrestling match at their annual two-day festival at Song Kol Lake, in Naryn Province, which also includes family storytelling, dancing and horse-riding games; a woman milks a mare in the Kyrgyz Alatau range (part of the Tien Shan mountains) – she will make a fermented drink called kunus from the milk; two girls by the roadside near Kazarman; beekeeper Victor inspects his 120 hives in Sary-Chelek, in the western province of Jalal-Abad.Photos: Tim Dirven/Panos

Country Profile: Kyrgyzstan

The photos, facts, and politics of Kyrgyzstan.

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Photo: Naima Perveen / Majority World

Southern Exposure: Naima Perveen

Highlighting the work of artists and photographers from the Majority World.

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Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA images/Alamy

Hall of Infamy: Yoweri Museveni

Ugandan autocrat Yoweri Museveni digs his heels in yet again.

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Sanam Naraghi-Anderlini (bottom, centre, in white top) with women peace-makers from conflict zones from around the world at ICAN's 2018 Annual Forum in Sri LankaPhoto: ICAN

The Interview: Sanam Naraghi-Anderlini

Indefatigable Iranian gender activist Sanam Naraghi-Anderlini on why she will not give up on her life-long mission to get women peace-makers included at the negotiating table.

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Agony Uncle: Is my daughter harbouring antisemitic views?

Agony Uncle: Is my daughter harbouring antisemitic views?

Ethical and political dilemmas abound these days. Seems like we’re all in need of a New Internationalist perspective. Enter stage: Agony Uncle.

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Illustration: Andy Carter

What if…

What if we all got paid the same? Vanessa Baird on a simple but bold measure to reverse roaring income inequality.

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The Puzzler

Crossword Puzzle, Association Words and Wordsearch

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Illustration: Marc Roberts

Only Planet

Chances for meaningful change, by Marc Roberts.

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Film, Book & Music Reviews

Mixed Media: Books

Mixed Media: Books

Planet Palm by Jocelyn C Zuckerman; Speak, Okinawa by Elizabeth Miki Brina; China in One Village by Liang Hong; Havana Year Zero by Karla Suárez.

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Mixed Media: Film

Mixed Media: Film

First Cow directed and co-written by Kelly Reichardt; After Love directed and written by Aleem Khan.

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Mixed media: music

Mixed media: music

They’re Calling Me Home by Rhiannon Giddens; Big Science by Laurie Anderson.

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Photo: Avid Art Agency

Spotlight: Saif Osmani

Artist Saif Osmani talks to Subi Shah about urban culture, gentrification and Brexit.

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