by Ishani Ghosh ’23
Published May 13th, 2021
In the last three weeks of the pandemic, cremation grounds in India have seen last rites for young children who passed at just 5 or 6 years old, for fathers and mothers only in their fifties, and for cousins, brothers and sisters who didn’t make it past thirty. The very pyres on which bodies are placed are now melting due to their constant use. People are dying in lines trying to get oxygen, trying to keep their lives in their grasp for just a minute longer.
Hospitals are understaffed and doctors are tottering on the very thin line between utter exhaustion and full-blown mental breakdowns. For many doctors, all they’ve heard in the last few weeks are labored breaths and the all-too-frequent beep of a flatline.
Dr. Chris Murray, the head of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, explained in an interview with NPR that India is looking at 5 million infections a day. Despite having a population of a whopping 1.4 billion people, he said that very quickly, the virus is going to run out of people to infect. Maharashtra, the second most populous state in India, has alone seen almost 113 deaths per day, and the peak of this wave is still reported to be two weeks away.
India has fully vaccinated only 2.3% of its total population, and in order for it to vaccinate 70% of its population, it will need close to 1.8 billion doses of the vaccine, which adds up to just about 600 million doses per month.
However, the rate of vaccination can be increased by 3-4 times if the American government and companies temporarily waive the intellectual property rights, patents, and copyrights regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. With 12,700 identified mutations and 12 main types of the virus, it is beyond imperative to assist India in vaccinating its population. As the country that produces almost 60% of the world’s vaccines, this would not only benefit India but would help it supply vaccines to more than 90 countries around the globe.
Now the question might arise, how can I do something when I’m sitting 8000 miles away? In your arsenal of tools, arguably the most important and strongest tool is your voice. And to use your voice…
Become aware of the situation, as it’s very hard to make a difference if you aren’t fully aware of the circumstances.
Educate yourself about the TRIPS Waiver. Learn why it’s so important to produce more vaccines: Read Here.
Donate to charities and foundations that are in the eye of the storm. There are good samaritans in India who are trying their very best to provide for those in need by supplying ventilators, CPAPs, and oxygen tanks for those who need them. The Hope Foundation and Oxfam are just a fraction of the many foundations who are stepping up to the plate for humanity. Donate Here.
Lastly, if after learning about the TRIPS waiver you agree that the patents must be lifted, consider signing this petition. Lend your voice to the movement and truly help save lives. Consider Signing.