An epidemiological and geopolitical analysis of Western powers illicit campaigns in the COVID-19 vaccine front
By Marcello Ferrada de Noli, Swedish professor emeritus of epidemiology, former research fellow at Harvard Medical School, and founder of the geopolitical magazine The Indicter.
It is said that Nikita Khruschev once stated, “The survivors would envy the dead”. Nevertheless he was not referring to pandemics, but to a nuclear war, still there exists a clear geopolitical vector identifying those two phenomena and its potential aftermath –and that would be Cold War.
My contention is that the discriminatory approach that institutions like EMA in the EU –and in general that of the Western governments– have towards the scientific advances of the Russian Covid-19 vaccines, represents not only a catastrophic strategy to deal with this pandemic in their own countries, added the poorer countries in their sphere of influence. It is also a short-sighted, unintelligent, and irresponsible geopolitical behaviour that ultimately –unless it is corrected– shall bring their own implosive societal destruction.
In strict epidemiological sense, the pandemic concept has to do with a distribution of a certain infection in the population. But the scope of this distribution, and ensuing, its morbidity and mortality rates, is not determined solely by the infective potency of the virus. It has to do with the measures that governments and public-health authorities decide to implement, ergo, what they would consider has to be prioritized. Like in the case of Sweden, where the priorities were the economy,  and not the health and life prospective of the senior population. Deplorably, what is causing hundreds of thousands of unnecessarily human deaths, is the instrumentation of those anti-pandemic strategies, done by Western corporations and the governments and international alliances that represent them, to primary serve their geopolitical and profit interests.
The unjustified neglecting towards the Russian-created Sputnik V against COVID-19, has resulted in depriving vast populations in European countries, and through pressures to other docile governments across the world, of a vaccine in time. That was done at times where no other vaccine was available, or when the deliverance of Wester-produced vaccines halted or drastically diminished–as it was in a moment with AstraZeneca and Pfizer. Ad all the above considering that Sputnik V was the first COVID-19 vaccine ever created and approved in the scientific community, and its efficacy and safety per reviewed in Lancet. 
The above is the real reason of the discriminatory stance that, for instance EMA and most of the EU countries, haver consistently deployed in addressing issues around the Sputnik V vaccine. It is not science, it is not epidemiological evaluation of real world statistics in the implementation of this vaccine. It is sheer egoism, greed, which is sold to the public under the disguise of neo cold-war narratives, “sanctions”, and steering of xenophobic and anti-Russian sentiment. In fact, the vaccine war is concomitantly used as propaganda by the Western powers and its European satellites, to reinforce NATO positions nowadays increasingly approaching and strangling the natural frontiers of Russia, for instance from the Baltic flank. 
Also epidemiologically, it results bizarre that the WHO, listing the risk factors associated with the corona infection, only names older age and “and those with underlying medical problems”.  Whereas the fatality rate of the pandemic is also a function of other public-health variables in its turn determined by socio-economic factors. I.e. people in countries with alimentary deficits, bad nutrition, poorer hygiene, etc., are less favoured with a positive prognosis. All this panorama amidst a significant increase –40 percent in just the last year– of basic-food prices in world’s poorer countries.  The not-halted pandemic is a main contributory cause of that social misfortune.
Had the Sputnik V vaccine obtained an objective and well deserved approval from WHO and EMA during the past months, and thus the vaccination rate would have increased notably in the word, such a disastrous panorama would have not taken place. And I note that EMA decisions regarding vaccine approvals and respective recommendations, have invariably been just the repetition of decisions taken by the US days before. For EMA is just an organ under the European Union leadership, and the EU cupola is the political organ of NATO for Europe.
“Cold war” and COVID-19 pandemic
1) Pandemics are not only a virologic occurrence. They are also a societal phenomenon. Virus have existed 3.5 billion years before species evolved into humans,  and the subsequent integration of their genetic material into our DNA human genome has going on since millions of years –resulting in that viral genetic material comprises around 10 percent of modern human genome.  The concept “infection” is not ascribable to the natural existence of a virus, but to the natural limitations of us humans, and to our collective response. This “response” is represented by the ordinances and recommendations at government levels, but also by the compliance degree of the population towards those measures.
In other words, it is not the emergence of a virus strain what makes an infection endemic or pandemic. It is the response that society would assay against its propagation.
Here the idiosyncratic and cultural-ideological factors are in its turn determinant, as reviewed below in considering the re-upsurging of individualism and ego-centred behaviours as fomented and tolerated in Western societies.
2) Cold war meant a “détente”, also partially halting the indiscriminate and voracious interventions of Western powers in poor countries, not seldom helped by direct military invasions. Concomitantly, the times of the “cold war” were also those of liberation movements across the world. Anticolonial, anti-imperialist, liberationists and revolutionary enterprises aimed to abolish internal inequalities and make people of the world solidaric in one common destiny.
Many of those fierce endeavours succeeded in establish democratic advances precisely under the shadow of the cold war. All that did generate the universalization of solidarity principles, a collective notion of respect of the human rights, a sense that all have born equal and all on earth are subjects of the same care (the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was approved in December 10, 1948). Subsequent, new public health institutions proliferated across the Western countries, whereas already established in socialist societies.
3) Chronologically, the establishment of the cold war did only ensue the times of the Second World disaster. A world disaster converted in victory thanks, fundamentally, by the sacrifices of the former Soviet Union, where 26.6 millions of its citizens died as casualties of war, military and civilians.  It has become political fashionable to refer to the Soviet times with disdain, but those are forgetting, or pretending to ignore, that those Soviet citizens perished to secure the survival of the Western elites’ democracies.
4) During decades following the end of the WW2, the presence of the Soviet Union, and the “threat” felt by the ruling classes in many Western countries –including the “developing” countries– of incumbent revolutions that the socialist world would eventually support, made those elites compulsory to negotiate with the popular and work-class movements. Those in power did not compromise because of generosity, they did not give away some privileges out of moral solidarity. No, no. It was done amidst this dialectics that many social and socio-economic advances resulted in benefit of the poorer classes. The same se3gments of society which now have in many countries of the West been converted in an incipient low middle-class of consumers.
5) The geopolitical pandemic that is shaking Europe and the world did not begin with the debut of Covid-19 on November 9, 2019. Instead, it began 30 years ago –exactly like the age of the one initiating our Cristian era. It began on November 9, 1989.
In other words, by the “fall of the Berlin Wall.”
That fact, for the vast majority of Western analysts, marked not only “the fall of the Soviet Union”, but the burial of socialism as a system. Although I believe they may be wrong in the long run, it is true that during and after the 90’s, we have observed a frenzied resurgence of individualism. This has been sheltered in neoliberal economies and the remodelling of societies towards paradigms of anti-social solidarity.
The current cold war, if it will not be able to drastically change its current ethical temperature, will end up freezing the hopes of survival for all humanity, unfailingly.
The current COVID vaccine crisis in a geopolitical context
It is in the above context in which we should place the understanding of the current COVID vaccine crisis.
This crisis consist of, a) people’s reluctancy to receive the vaccine; b) an increased need of booster vaccines; c) problems in the production and distribution of the vaccine; d) scarcity of availability of vaccines for the vast majority of the world population. For reasons of space, I will address here only the first of the above-named items. I have treated the other two in my previous articles.
Reluctance to receive the vaccine is only partly rooted in lack of sufficient information towards the public. It has also to do with two other potent factors. One is a –at times inappropriate– fear regarding the COVID-19 vaccine’s secondary effects. The other, which is related to the discussion above, is the individualistic, non-social oriented behaviour exercised by important sectors of the population, particularly the younger segments.
And this has also a pandemic-wise distribution in countries of Europe. And it is the result of the neoliberal cultural phenomenon which has flourished vis-a-vis with the unbalanced economic neoliberalism born out the demolished bricks of the Berlin Wall in 1989. When socialist ideas of solidarity began to be obscured by the emergent consumers societies of the everything left to be determined by the so called market. A “market” which, as we know, is at large monopolized and as little “free” as the control social media giants have nowadays on the privacy of citizens. During this period, countries like Sweden –previously known by a developed welfare– started to dismount service after service.
In the aftermath of WW2, the experiences of human disasters led naturally among people to understand the impact of solidarity in reconstruction and wellbeing. E.g., a the call for a collective vaccination would have immediately understood as a necessary step to preserve the health of the entire collective. It is not so nowadays. I have heard young and middle-age people seriously arguing, “let’s other fool take the risk, and let’s survive thanks to that” (i.e., lets achieve the herd immunity of 75 percent vaccinated at the cost of those others “taking the risk”).
It is basically the same cohort of people which, as long as they can, would disregard protective measures that benefit the public health of its countrymen. In fact, is the people pretty much responsible –together with weak and incompetent public health authorities– for the remarkable impetuous in the re-emerging of the pandemic during last autumn-winter in Europe.
Who would be the responsible of that negative change towards self-centrism in the idiosyncratic of people, that we have seeing in the first decades of this century? Western societies as a whole, and those following after, fomented it in the pretence of a solid trade mark of “democracy” against “socialism”. But that egoistic individualism is killing the “democratic society”, or at least the poorest and most vulnerable of it. And for that is using the weapon of vaccine reluctance. In Spanish there is a proverb whose translation would say, “raise crows and they will eat your eyes” (“cría cuervos y te comerán los ojos”).
Normally, COVID-19 vaccines are given in homologous prime-boost sequences. However, new studies have demonstrated that prime-boost can be performed with dissimilar vaccines but carrying the same antigens. Ergo, “In many cases such heterologous prime-boost can be more immunogenic than homologous prime-boost.” 
Why would we need booster vaccines? Clarifying, most of the available vaccine were designed to administrated in a two-doses sequence, being the second “a booster shot”. Whether the second shot can be really a “booster” using the same composition of the first dose has been item for discussion.
According to the opinion of Associate Professor András Lengyel in the online professional forum G-med, because AstraZeneca is a vector vaccine with weakened adenovirus of chimpanzee, a booster in the form of a third dose of the same vaccine “does (can) not induce more powerful answer from the immune system than it has already happened with the previous two doses”. 
Thus, procedures have been undertaken to find a booster for that vaccine. An article published in Nature, indicates that “mix-and-match COVID vaccines trigger potent immune response”.  Although not per being a scientific report, the article refers to a study conducted in Spain where the Pfizer vaccine “boosted antibody responses remarkably in one-dose AstraZeneca vaccinees”. However, the characteristics of the “vaccinees”, or why they would need a different booster, is not revealed.
Whereas in the Sputnik vaccine regime, the second dose administrated as “booster” for the first dose, uses a different adenoviral vector. Namely, the first dose carries the Ad5 vector, and the second dose (the booster) uses the Ad26. 
Another reason for the developing of COVID-19 booster vaccines, is the emerging of new virus strains –such as the new-named Delta virus (formerly, “the Indian variant”).
In this new front of the battle against the pandemic, the Sputnik developers at Gamaleya Institute have discovered a new booster vaccine shot against the Delta variant, which can be administrated as booster to other vaccine brands.  This is an unique discovering that it should deserve more space in Western media.
Finally, a booster vaccine, different to the previous doses using the same vaccine brand, it is necessary when the “original” vaccinee has developed a serious allergic response, either during the first or second dose of that same vaccine.
The most known of those reactions is anaphylaxis. The vaccines with anaphylactic reactions reported has been the mRNA-based vaccines –namely those by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. The reason behind this reaction is probably one its components, the pegylated lipid nanoparticle Polyethylene glycol (also named PEG2000). In these individuals, in the event of a booster shot, a mRNA-based vaccine should definitely not be administrated. And in these cases the options are in the first place vaccines which do not contain PEG.
With regards to the presence of Polysorbate 80 as a component, a statement from the World Allergy Organization Anaphylaxis Committee declares that Polysorbate 80 lower molecular weights would make them “much less likely to trigger an allergic reaction”. 
Paradoxically, the unfairly neglected (by Western powers and their media) Sputnik V developers, have anew surprised the world with this new discovery, the heterogeneous booster vaccine to combat the dangerous Delta virus. It can be used after any vaccine, independently of manufactures.
For us in the scientific epidemiological front, it is not surprising at all. Gamaleya Institute indeed registered the first available COVID-19 vaccine in the word, and which is now used all over –except “officially” in the EU– due to the delay manoeuvres of EMA.
Why “Geopolitics of an immoral pandemic”?. For the tragedy shaking nowadays the world is a multiple one. It is shaken by the healthiness of countries’ economies and of their inhabitants, of the life expectancies of the countries as such, of their industrial and environmental landscapes – but above all, their ethics.
This pandemic, at least in Europe, have shown that “human rights for all” might be a concept in phase of extinction, and proportional to the recognition of the rights for only a few –starting with the owners of giant Western pharmaceutical corporations, for the West’s selfish and one-eyed political leaders, and for those in charge of the world’s medical agencies.
A shorter version of this article has been published as op-ed in RT, with the title “The catastrophic mistakes over Covid made by the West’s political leaders may ultimately bring about societal destruction“.