On August 11, the same day Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that a vaccine for the coronavirus was “ready”, Kremlin Health Minister Mikhail Murashko as “a huge contribution. . . to the victory of humankind over the novel coronavirus”.
It was a grand statement that appealed to global togetherness in the face of a global challenge. And yet, Russia’s approach to the vaccine and other treatments for the coronavirus exemplifies how some governments and populations are responding to the pandemic with the very opposite of an internationalist outlook.
On August 6, the WHO director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned of “vaccine nationalism” and what could be lost if countries failed to work together to suppress the coronavirus:
“Sharing vaccines or sharing other tools actually helps the world to recover together, and the economic recovery can be faster, and the damage from Covid-19 could be lessened.”