Diarmaid Ferriter: We are not remotely all in this together

Vaccine nationalism can only prolong the pandemic and its consequences

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and European Commissioner for Health Stella Kyriakides arrive for a debate on the EU approach to vaccinations. Photograph: Francisco Seco/AP Photo

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and European Commissioner for Health Stella Kyriakides arrive for a debate on the EU approach to vaccinations. Photograph: Francisco Seco/AP Photo

The phrase “We’re all in this together” is well worn and well debunked at this stage of the pandemic. It was never going to be anything more than hollow rhetoric, nationally and internationally.

We have, according to the National Public Health Emergency Team's Philip Nolan, a “leaky” country, which means some have been having a very nice time on holidays or using Ireland as a back door to get to their desired spots, while others suck up the tight travel restrictions. The gaps in togetherness have a long, ignoble history; after all, Shakespeare in The Rape of Lucrece in 1594 penned the lines:

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