On Saturday, Queen Rania of Jordan spoke about the COVID-19 pandemic and the vaccine at the virtual Warwick Economics Summit. The Queen called on equality in distributing vaccines for the coronavirus during her talk with CNN news anchor Becky Anderson.
The Queen said: “We are all in a race against a pandemic, not against each other.” She meant that if one country is unable to recover from the pandemic, it will impact the world as a whole. Wealthy countries have been able to order enough vaccines to vaccinate double their populations, but underdeveloped countries are struggling to be able to vaccinate just a small portion of their population. Jordan is the only country to distribute vaccines to refugees.
She called on those countries with a surplus of vaccines to donate them to poorer nations: “I see no reason why those who have excess supply can’t donate their surplus to poorer countries, and I’m glad that some countries have committed to doing just that. If we aren’t motivated by moral or ethical responsibility, then at least we should be motivated to act from a global health standpoint.”
Her Majesty went on to talk about the cracks the pandemic has shown in our world: “This pandemic has revealed and reinforced cracks in our world order, along lines of income inequality, gender inequity, and social injustice…this loss hasn’t been felt equally.
“While some people are enjoying the benefits of rebounding global markets, far too many people around the world are suffering from parallel pandemics of hunger, violence, and illiteracy. In fact, for the first time in 20 years, extreme poverty is back on the rise.”
A passionate education advocate, the Queen also spoke about the effect COVID-19 has had on education. “Access to education has never been fair, but the disparities that we are seeing today, both within and across countries, are quite staggering. A child’s fate hinges on which side of the digital divide they fall, and far too many – millions, in fact – are falling on the wrong side,” she said.
Her Majesty did praise the positives that have come out of the pandemic including how so many across the globe worked together to create a vaccine so that lives could begin to get back to normal.
Queen Rania remarked: “If we take the development of vaccines, for example, it would have taken us years to get to this point had it not been for the coordination and collaboration of the medical community. That was a really shining, undeniable example of how a crisis can fuel innovation, and how, when we put our politics and national identities aside and work toward a common goal, we can achieve so much for so many.”
She then stressed that, even after the pandemic is over, how the world must stand together: “Whatever ‘normal’ we go back to, I know that we cannot go back to the ‘old normal’ that left too many people behind. If we’ve learnt one thing from this crisis, it’s that we’re only as strong as the weakest among us.”
Afterwards, Queen Rania said on social media about her participation in the summit: “Enjoyed delving into some of the world’s most pressing challenges with CNN’s Becky Anderson.”
“The Warwick Economics Summit is the largest student-run economics conference in Europe. For the past 20 years, we have created an international forum for the brightest students and most influential speakers to discuss the pressing issues of today,” according to the economic organisation.