Reviews | Global actions and the Covid vaccine


For the publisher:

Re “Ignore the recall shots. Give Vaccines to Africa ”, by Matshidiso Moeti (Opinion guest dissertation, September 20):

Dr Moeti is to be commended for his excellent essay drawing attention to the growing inequity of the Covid-19 vaccine. The Covid-19, perhaps more than any other event in our history, demonstrates that we are a true global community. Achieving immunization rates of 80 percent in some high-income countries is remarkable, but no one can relax when immunization rates of 3.6 percent exist in other regions like Africa.

Covid-19 has been a litmus test of how far we still have to go with fairness. For too long, fairness has been framed as an “us and them” issue, with the very small group “us” controlling the vast majority of the resources of the very large group “them”. The most powerful lesson from Covid-19 is that everything is ‘us’.

Providing booster shots to healthy, low-risk people when a large number of potentially at-risk people have not received any vaccinations is deplorable. No one will be safe until we are all safe. Fairness is not just good for everyone; it is essential to our survival.

Timothy A. Carey
Kigali, Rwanda
The author is Director of the Global Health Equity Research Institute at the University of Global Health Equity in Rwanda.

For the publisher:

As a pediatrician with more than half a century of practice with Native American children and children of Southeast Asia, I fully agree with the need to immunize the world against the coronavirus pandemic. But the question is exactly how to successfully distribute and administer vaccines given the challenges of refrigeration, transportation, corruption, theft, instability in many countries, lack of medical personnel, record keeping, displaced people, religious beliefs, waste, etc.

The Gates Foundation may be able to prepare and do it, but not the underfunded World Health Organization.

Marvin J. Godner
Santa Fé, New Mexico

For the publisher:

Re “Biden describes aggressive pandemic plan, but there are many obstacles” (news article, September 23):

Covid’s comprehensive approach should be focused on keeping people alive, not eradicating the virus. By doing the first, we can do the second.

Conversation of opinion
Questions around the Covid-19 vaccine and its deployment.

What is needed is the aggressive use of therapeutics, especially monoclonal antibodies. Antibodies are easier to make and transport than vaccines. Granted, they do not offer future immunity, but if enough people receive them, they can create an inhospitable host population, which would greatly reduce the outbreak.

It is not a perfect solution; this still leaves people vulnerable to future infection, but it saves time to produce and distribute more vaccines. A concrete example: we have never cured AIDS, but we have developed drugs that make it a chronic disease rather than an acute and generally fatal disease.

Hypertension, diabetes and AIDS have no cure, but they are treatable diseases we live with. Such a strategic shift is necessary for Covid.

Denis Pombriant
Boston

For the publisher:

Re “Taliban appoints UN envoy, complicating General Assembly dilemma” (news article, nytimes.com, September 21):

There should be no “dilemma” for the United Nations General Assembly. It would be simply unacceptable to allow the representative of the Taliban to sit in the General Assembly while they continue to suppress the rights of girls and women in Afghanistan.

The Taliban have de facto prohibited girls from entering secondary education. This is in direct violation of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which promises that education should be “equally accessible to all”. Sitting down a representative of the Taliban would be seen as a green light for a violation of basic human rights.

When I ran Let Girls Learn for Michelle Obama, we educated 174,000 girls, added 1,300 female teachers, and awarded university scholarships in Afghanistan. Afghan women have finally had the chance to pursue education and experience economic freedom. All of this progress is now under threat.

The United States should make it clear that it will not recognize the Taliban on the world stage until there are genuine protections for women and girls – and that we use all diplomatic tools at our disposal to ensure the basic rights of every Afghan.

Krish O’Mara Vignarajah
Baltimore
The author is the President and CEO of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.

For the publisher:

“Grim New Reality for Afghan Women and Girls” (cover page, September 21) reports on the Taliban’s destruction of educational opportunities for Afghan women citizens.

Even setting aside the Taliban’s need to institute their antediluvian views at gunpoint, what hope can the world have for a country whose official policies deny it access to half of the brains of the nation? population?

Joseph D. McInerney
Lutherville, Maryland.

For the publisher:

Re “Top United States Envoy to Haiti withdraws in protest against deportation policies” (press article, September 24):

I support and I support Daniel Foote, who has resigned from his post of special envoy to Haiti. What the hell are those thousands supposed to do after being dumped in a country in turmoil? Is this how we should treat our fellow human beings in times of need? No, and we must tackle this widespread human abuse now, as the future holds even greater migration.

We are at the start of a period of mass migration due to climate change, natural disasters and economic collapse. The way we treat the migrants of today and tomorrow must be based on compassion in a changing world. We need a government agency that plans, with all nations, future migration, not an agency that clings to exclusion and turns a blind eye to the suffering of others.

How can we help those whose only flaw was being born in a place with a desperate future? I hope we are on the brink of a new kind of global leadership that can build a good future for all of us on this changing planet.

Ingrid Furlong
Santa Fé, New Mexico

For the publisher:

Re “Pass Manchin’s Voting Bill” (editorial, September 19):

Time is running out, deadlines are looming, and the Senate should not waste any more time – it should pass the Freedom to Vote Act. The next federal election may be over a year away, but many states are only weeks away from their deadlines to redesign their congressional constituencies.

Democrats are ready to protect access to the ballot for every American, but Senate Republicans are standing in the way, trying to enforce voter suppression laws across the country. Without protection from federal electoral standards, unfairly drawn Congress cards could silence black and brown Americans and deny them equal access to the polls for another decade.

The only hope for Senate Republicans to continue denying Americans the right to vote is filibuster. In addition to voicing support for transformative voting rights legislation, Democrats – and President Biden – must set out a clear plan to overcome the filibuster to bring us closer to a democracy that serves and represents the people. .

Jana Morgan
Washington
The writer is director of the Declaration for American Democracy, a coalition of more than 240 voting rights organizations.


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