This is grossly unfair: in Germany, the percentage of people who have already received a booster vaccination is higher than the number of people in the poorest countries who have only received their first vaccination – 5, 6% of Germans have received an additional vaccine, compared to 4.6% of people vaccinated once to date in the 27 poorest countries in the world.
Besides the ethical and moral arguments, it is clear why countries in the South must finally receive many more doses of the vaccine: inoculation not only reduces the risk of serious illness, but also reduces the risk of transmitting the virus to others. – thus contributing to efforts aimed at putting an end to the global pandemic crisis. From this perspective, a recall campaign is unfair at a time when nearly half of the world’s population is still unvaccinated. To make matters worse, the interim German government is withholding vaccine donations from the COVAX program, which aims to distribute them equitably around the world, in order to offer its own booster vaccines to the population.
Why people shouldn’t reject the booster dose
However, it would be equally wrong to deny the privilege of a recall. After all, a booster dose that is not used in Germany is not useful to anyone in other parts of the world either.
In this case, the logic of “every purchase decision is a signal”, which allows consumers to have at least minimal influence, does not work. People who have been vaccinated have no power in the market because they do not participate in it. In the North, at least, goods have long passed through the counter of government buyers, and national governments are doing their best to distribute the vaccine among their own populations.
David Ehl from DW
It is also wrong to assume that unused vaccine doses are simply given. Like a beer round in a pub, anything that isn’t touched will ultimately be thrown away. This is especially true for vaccines which have a shelf life of a few hours after being taken out of the ultra-low temperature freezer, and are usually supplied in packs of six. Donating larger batches shortly before the expiration date are also problematic, as doses have yet to reach those willing to be vaccinated elsewhere. If recipient countries do not have enough time for distribution, they will eventually have to throw away the doses.
Even if a significant number of Germans forgo their booster shots so that these doses can be given, how would the government respond? The government is unlikely to forgo the next vaccine delivery – it would likely spend taxpayer dollars on advertising campaigns to change people’s minds.
Recall fire also saves lives
Getting the extra hit makes a difference to how the pandemic progresses in its own environment. Apparently in Israel, the fourth wave was interrupted by booster vaccinations, which presumably saved many people from getting sick or worse.
Germany and other countries in the northern hemisphere, which are currently facing a sharp increase in the number of infections despite a large number of people vaccinated, are hoping for just this effect, regardless of the unfavorable conditions at the time. current. Data from Israel suggests that protection against COVID-19 infection may start to wane a few months after receiving a second dose, but increases again after the booster.
The first two vaccines still provide enough protection to prevent a severe case of COVID-19, even in view of an increase in the number of cases of breakthrough infections in fully vaccinated people. But every person with a booster whose immune system shuts down the virus from the start is a dead end for the pandemic. All those who, thanks to the recall, do not end up in an intensive care unit and keep a free hospital capacity for the others. Each booster injection not only helps the person vaccinated, but may save someone else’s life as well.
None of this matters to the roughly 95% of the population in the world’s poorest countries who are still waiting to receive even one COVID-19 vaccine. People who feel guilty about their immunization privilege should donate money, organize protests and petitions, or contact their constituency officials, but all of this can be done after receiving the reminder.
This article was originally written in German.