Pfizer, along with some other pharmaceutical companies is at the forefront of the Covid-19 vaccine right now. And plenty of people around the world are being given the first rounds of treatments to fight the virus and pandemic as a whole. But sometimes, it’s easy to get lost in what’s happening in a particular country (your own) and not understand how vaccine rollouts are going in other places. Well, it seems from some recent rumors, Pfizer is in heavy negotiations with a number of different foreign countries about bringing the vaccine. But according to an investigation from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the drug company has incredibly high demands from those governments before they make it happen.
It remains to be seen if this story is, in fact, accurate but the apparently growing dispute between Pfizer and other foreign governments and countries has a monetary aspect to it of course. Though that piece doesn’t have to do with the initial purchase of the vaccine. In that way, it does appear most sides are on the same page. Where the issue becomes a little sticky is the negotiations around the drug company potentially being sued if there were adverse side effects for certain citizens. In this way, it appears Pfizer is looking for collateral from countries to protect against significant financial fallout if things turned heavily litigious. In some cases, it appears the drug company has even asked for things like embassy buildings or even military bases to be offered as that collateral. We give you the vaccine, you give us an army base. That kind of thing.
Again, the specifics around exactly which countries are being asked to put up what as collateral isn’t quite known, and the report fails to go into exact specifics. No one is officially on the record divulging the specifics around how this vaccine rollout is being handled. It’s hard to blame them considering Pfizer pushing out the vaccine and/or delaying it could be tantamount time wasted around human life. But there is of course a financial aspect to consider as well which leaves this an incredibly depressing gray area.
Meanwhile, the United States is still very much in the early stages of the wider vaccine rollout with about 10% or 33 million people have been vaccinated already. It varies state-by-state with some having a higher percentage of their population been given the full boat and the numbers around at least one round sitting at about 20%. The Pfizer vaccine, along with Moderna’s requires two doses to be fully inoculated. Others like Johnson & Johnson’s requires only one round.
What comes from these Pfizer negotiations with different countries remains to be seen. Their vaccine has been approved in more Latin American countries than any of the other options. But every country is different and apparently so are the negotiations. Some countries have guaranteed that their citizens’ legal issues will be handled in-house. But those that can’t make that guarantee apparently will have more to hand over from Pfizer’s point of view. It’s terrible to think about medicine in these terms of course and here’s to hoping all parties find an equitable resolution and the vaccine gets to who needs it.