In Focus | Coronavirus Vaccine: When and How Can it Reach Syria?
The United Kingdom (UK) officially began the vaccine campaign against COVID-19 "Coronavirus" in early December 2020, and it is expected that the United States of America (U.S.A.)as well as a number of other countries to start vaccine drives in early 2021, launching the end of one of the worst disasters known to the modern world, represented by the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.
For poor and low-income countries, as in Syria, access to the Coronavırus vaccine might face a number of problems and obstacles, can be summed up as follows:
1- The major Powers are racing toward the purchase of the vaccine for their own population, to accelerate recovering from the economic slowdown that struck each country, as a result, citizens can be reassured, and the politicians of these states aspire that the availability of the vaccine constitutes a political lever for them to win power again, which made them reserve relatively large quantities of these expected vaccines, even if they are forced to pay sums higher than the official price come from mediation or negotiation processes with the manufacturers directly. In the case of Syria and similar countries, it is expected that the governance systems, whether in the regime, the opposition or the Autonomous Administration-held areas, they neither give access to the vaccine a top priority nor pay attention to this matter.
2- The access to the vaccine requires the availability of relatively large sums of money, countries must pay, especially in the early periods. The vaccines of Pfizer and Moderna might cost at least one dose between 20 to 30 US-dollar, of which per person needs two ones. This will mean reserving quantities of approximately 30 million doses for the lowest estimates for all Syrians, which means that the total cost reaches 750 million US dollars, a large sum for Syria due to directing resources to other needs, even if it is divided into several shares according to the areas of influence, as each region pays a part, the cost will remain relatively high .
As for the cheaper vaccines, such as the Oxford's and those come from China and Russia, it is expected that they will not reach high production rates that are sufficient for only the countries produce them until after several months, in addition to the fact that the efficiency of these vaccines is still being a questionable issue.
3- The Coronavirus vaccine needs an integrated health system, starts with transportation that needs special planes and storage conditions, and some vaccines need to be kept extremely cold: minus 70 degrees Celsius, and end with training the cadres on how to give it in terms of time, mechanism and follow-up, and it is expected that such a sophisticated system is not present in Syria, processing it takes a relatively long time.
No matter what type of vaccine it is, the mechanism of dealing with it and distributing it to the population will remain the biggest dilemma in Syria, in a country where the health sector is already experiencing crises in dealing with regular diseases, and the lack of adequate medical staff.
4- The issue of the possibility of the opposition and the Autonomous Administration-held areas requesting the vaccine without having legal legitimacy could also be raised, which prevents even international organizations from providing them with the vaccine, especially since the request for vaccines will be limited to countries in the first phase, and might not be commercially available until after a long period.
5- It is envisaged that in 2021, the diplomacy of distributing the Coronavirus vaccine would be widespread, similar to the diplomacy of aid addressing COVID-19 in the first half of 2020. Therefore, it is anticipated that Syria (with all the areas of influence) will obtain grants of the vaccine late in 2021, but different governance systems will face the problem of dealing with, distributing and storing the vaccine.
Unit of Analysis and Thinking - Jusoor for Studies
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