Vaccine nationalism: Creating an industry out of a pandemic

The biggest factor in coronavirus vaccines becoming an industry rather than preventing a global epidemic is the policies of governments. Vaccine nationalism emerged as governments procured coronavirus vaccines, taking care only of their own citizens.

More than 50 countries failed to meet the target of "vaccinating at least 10 percent of the population" set by the World Health Organization (WHO) by the end of September. Most of these countries are in Africa. Only 4.4 percent of the total population of the continent received the double dose vaccine.

In the UK, 66 percent of the entire population has had double-dose vaccines. The fully vaccinated population reached 62 percent in the European Union (EU) and 55 percent in the USA.

The majority of low-income countries have not been able to reach their vaccination target due to problems in the health system and vaccine supply.

Only 15 of 54 countries in Africa achieved this target. In half of the countries on the continent, the vaccination rate remained below 2 percent. In Egypt, about 5 percent of the population was able to receive a double dose of vaccine. In Ethiopia and Nigeria, this rate was below 3 percent.

Two countries on the continent, Burundi and Eritrea, have not even started any vaccination programs yet.


With the decision taken last week, England removed Turkey from the red list, effective from September 22.

Thus, people who went to England from Turkey did not have to go into hotel quarantine for 10 days and pay 2 thousand 285 pounds. However, England has not yet recognized Turkey's vaccination system and vaccination certificate.

Therefore, people who have been vaccinated in Turkey are considered unvaccinated when they fly to the UK and must be quarantined for 10 days.

People who visit Turkey after being vaccinated in the UK do not face such an obligation when they return.

In addition, those vaccinated in Turkey are required to have a paid PCR test on their 2nd and 8th days in the UK.

Those who have been vaccinated in the UK only have a PCR test on their second day.

Among the countries that the UK recognizes the vaccination system are the USA, EU members, Japan and Australia, as well as developing countries.

The UK only accepts people from these countries vaccinated if they have had the vaccines recognized by the UK. These vaccines are: Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Janssen.

The UK Ministry of Health's criteria for recognizing countries' vaccine systems include the vaccines used in the countries, the rate of the fully vaccinated population, and whether the vaccine certificate complies with the UK's standards.

Turkey's vaccine certificates are accepted by the EU. In addition, when we look at the full vaccination rates, the rate in Turkey is better than some countries that the UK deems appropriate. Therefore, it seems that the UK did not act fairly in not accepting Turkey's vaccine system.


In the last weeks of 2019, many companies and scientists entered a fierce race to find a solution against Covid-19, which became a global epidemic shortly after it emerged in China and caused the death of more than 4.8 million people.

While many countries approved the developed Covid-19 vaccines for immediate use, Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines outperformed their competitors as they provided high protection. While the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is also used in Turkey, striking claims were made about the Moderna vaccine, which provides longer and more effective protection than this vaccine, in the research conducted last month.

In a report in the New York Times, it was stated that Moderna prioritized certain countries for profit purposes or followed different price policies towards some countries. The newspaper commented, "Some poor countries both pay more and wait longer than developed countries to get the vaccine, if they can get access to the vaccine in the first place."

Examining the data of Airfinity, which monitors the shipping process of vaccines, the NY Times said, “Moderna sends most of its vaccines to developed countries, unlike other vaccine manufacturers. About 1 million doses of Moderna's vaccine were sent to countries defined by the World Bank as poor, while Pfizer's 8.4 million doses and Johnson & Johnson's 25 million doses were sent to these countries."

The New York Times, which reached the official agreements and documents, said, “Poor countries that can reach Modern have to pay at least 3 times more than the USA or the European Union pays. Thailand and Colombia pay the highest price. Botswana's doses are delayed. Tunisia, on the other hand, cannot even communicate with Moderna.”


Speaking to the New York Times, former head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Tom Frieden said, “They acts like they have no responsibilities other than increasing their income.”

Moderna officials, on the other hand, announced that their production capacity is limited.

However, the New York Times, which lists the prices that countries pay for each dose of the vaccine, revealed the inconsistency in the prices charged from developed countries and the price tariff prepared for poor countries. In addition to the $1.3 billion that Moderna gave for vaccine development, it was stated that the US government paid $15 to $16.50 for each dose, while the European Union paid $22.60 to $25.50.

Botswana, Thailand and Colombia paid between $27 and $30.

Speaking to the New York Times, two African Union officials said, “Last May, Moderna offered the African Union $10 per dose. But they said these vaccines could be given next year. After this statement, the talks stopped.”


In a study conducted in the past months, it was revealed that Moderna provides both longer protection and higher protection than Pfizer/BioNTech's vaccine.

In the report of the CDC, one of the leading health institutions in the USA, the data of those who had the Moderna and BioNTech vaccines were examined. In the study, which examined the effect of the vaccine as time passed, the rate of protection from Covid-19 of patients vaccinated with Moderna decreased from 93 percent to 92 percent in the first four months. For those vaccinated with BioNTech, this rate dropped from 91 percent to 77 percent in four months.

On the other hand, after Sweden and Denmark, Finland also restricted the use of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Moderna in young men against the possible danger of heart inflammation.

Accordingly, young men will not be given the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Moderna.

Mika Salminen, Director of the Finnish Health Institute, announced that the vaccine produced by the Pfizer group will now be administered to men born in 1991 or later.

Making a statement to the press on the subject, Salminen said, “The Scandinavian research covering Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark reveals that the risk of heart muscle inflammation is slightly higher in men under 30 years of age with the vaccine produced by Moderna.”