What’s a problem only the rich will have?
Having to illegally park your cars by the roadside because you just have so many cars that they don’t fit inside your property?
Perhaps getting arrested because wealth has got you so jaded that you were left with no choice but to shoplift for the thrill?
Now let’s take that idea, and bring it to the national level.
What’s a problem only a rich nation would have?
In the context of COVID-19, it’s having to destroy millions of doses of vaccines because oops, you bought one too many.
10.3 million doses to be destroyed
Switzerland will be destroying 10.3 million doses of Moderna’s vaccine against COVID-19, the health ministry said on Saturday.
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The ministry said that Switzerland had no other option but to eliminate the jabs after the doses expired last Wednesday.
An initial report on the Swiss news site Beobachter, which estimated that the vaccines set for destruction were worth approximately 280 million Swiss francs (S$400 million), was also confirmed by the ministry.
A sticky situation—but how exactly did the situation get this severe in the first place?
The health ministry explained that the large surplus of vaccine doses was a result of its early vaccine procurement strategy.
When the COVID-19 pandemic initially reared its head, nations worldwide, especially rich nations, raced to secure vaccines to counter the virus.
Switzerland’s strategy was this: to order doses from various vaccine manufacturers rather than one.
Essentially, to avoid putting all their eggs in one basket.
The nation did so in order to avoid developing a reliance on vaccines that might eventually prove ineffective, as well as to ensure that delivery problems would be the least of their concerns.
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Since vaccines based on mRNA technology, namely those from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech, proved to be the effective ones, the nation was left with a large surplus of doses.
Unfortunate, but is it more so for Switzerland, or for the numerous lower-income nations with little to no access to vaccines?
This surplus of vaccines however, was not a problem that came out of the blue. It didn’t exactly spring up on the nation’s health ministry like the jumpscare from Incantation.
Earlier this year in June, it was already estimated that Switzerland had an excess of approximately 38 million doses of various COVID-19 vaccines which would expire before the year-end.
Switzerland has fully vaccinated nearly 70 per cent of its population of 8.7 million thus far.
As Switzerland moves to commence its next booster campaign next month, the ministry also said that some 3.5 million doses of the new, adapted Moderna vaccine would be available.
With any luck, we shouldn’t be seeing another statement from Switzerland’s health ministry about a further round of vaccine destruction.
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