Good vaccines, bad vaccines
Vaccinated American tourists will be welcome in Europe. Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, hinted in an interview with The New York Times that the American dollars are more than welcome this summer.
Her emphasis on Western vaccines was remarkable. Her allusion on “free movement” ironic.
“The Americans, as far as I can see, use European Medicines Agency-approved vaccines. This will enable free movement and the travel to the European Union. Because one thing is clear: All 27 member states will accept, unconditionally, all those who are vaccinated with vaccines that are approved by E.M.A.”
A global world
Globalization struggled to stay on its feet before the pandemic. But the current crisis accentuated the unraveling world and accelerated the existing trends. We are living in a multipolar world.
Even in a banal topic like travel, geopolitics surface. By excluding non-Western vaccines, Von der Leyen made a clear statement. In her eyes, you have the good guys, and the bad ones. Or better said: the good vaccines, and the bad ones.
The situation is hilarious, because numerous countries are obliged to use Chinese, Russian or other vaccines. They have no other choice. The United States, the European Union, Canada or Australia are hoarding the 'good vaccines'. Some Western blocs are even banning the export of vaccines and raw materials.
The result are weird situations; and torn families as Bloomberg noted:
“Of the two vaccine options available in the city (Hong Kong) – one from Sinovac and another developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE – Cheung plans to sign up for Sinovac for easier movement in and out of the mainland. Meanwhile, her British husband will go for the Pfizer-BioNTech shot, she says to boost his chances of visiting family in the U.K.”
While doctors, experts and organizations like the World Health Organization are telling that every vaccine is good, the European Union sends out the message that some vaccines are better than others. Sad. But unsurprising.
Though it is true that China's visa policy too favors people vaccinated with the Chinese vaccine. The Chinese don't accept Western vaccines as a valid protector against covid-19.
Sad as well. And telling about their standards and world view.
But that doesn't speak well the lowering of the standards by the European Union.