So we have another covid variant – Omicron – now circulating and we wait for news of its power to further disrupt and endanger our lives. Within a week of its being reported we already have two cases in Sydney. It will be with us here in Aotearoa New Zealand shortly, if it hasn’t already arrived.
Omicron developed in South Africa – a country with just 41% of the population vaccinated. Across Africa as a whole the vaccination rate is just 16%!
It’s in this environment that Covid is spreading fast and mutating quickly – the vaccination rates are far too low – and new variants will continue to spread in wave after wave around the globe.
We should not be surprised.
The World Health Organisation and other international agencies have pointed out again and again that no-one is safe until everyone is safe. We cannot be safe until the “global South” (less developed countries) are vaccinated.
Instead of giving booster shots to people in Aotearoa New Zealand we should send our booster jabs to countries where vaccination rates are low – that’s what a rational, scientific policy based on human decency demands of us.
“Give a life jacket to someone who doesn’t have one before giving one to someone who already has two” Mike Ryan WHO
The World Health Organisation has the goal of getting every country up to 40% vaccinated before the end of this year. They are struggling to meet the target. We can help – let’s do it!
But we won’t. Our political leaders will find a thousand weasily excuses to avoid doing the right thing.
We will keep acting as though somehow we will be able to stay safe by ignoring the vaccination needs of the poorest, most marginalised members of humanity.
We won’t and covid will keep winning.