Enlightened self-interest — ensuring that the developing world is getting COVID-19 vaccines — isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.
That shouldn’t be a surprise since self-interest, or getting vaccinated, doesn’t seem to be much of a motivator either. Yet discovery of the omicron variant — the new COVID-19 mutation that is ringing alarms and shutting doors around the world — is proof that vaccine inequality is everyone’s problem.
B.1.1.529, dubbed omicron, is the new COVID variant. The World Health Organization (WHO) said the first confirmed specimen was detected Nov. 9 in Botswana. Most subsequent cases have been found in southern Africa, although it’s rapidly spread worldwide. Blame international air travel: Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam went into lockdown last weekend as 61 passengers on two flights from southern African countries tested positive for the coronavirus. Cases have also been detected in Japan, Hong Kong and Israel, among others.