COVID-19: Time for countries blocking the TRIPS waiver to support lifting of restrictions

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Ahead of the first anniversary of South Africa and India’s call for a TRIPS waiver for Covid-19 vaccines on October 2, 2021, Amnesty International Secretary General Agnès Callamard said :

“Since India and South Africa requested a TRIPS waiver a year ago, 3.5 million people have died from Covid-19. How many more people need to die needlessly before countries do the right thing and support the lifting of patent restrictions, so that Covid-19 vaccines, tests and treatments can be produced around the world?

“It is simply shameful that a handful of wealthy governments continue to monopolize vaccine supplies while constantly opposing attempts to free up intellectual property rights that would allow other states to meet their obligations to protect their vaccine. population. The UK, Norway, Switzerland and the EU – including Germany – still selfishly block the TRIPS waiver while other countries continue to waste time and procrastinate. Pharmaceutical companies have also behaved in shameful ways – pushing up prices, monopolizing intellectual property, blocking technology transfers and aggressively lobbying against measures that would increase global manufacturing to line their pockets.

Greed triumphs over human life and human rights… the poorest countries waste precious time protecting their populations.

General Secretary, Agnès Callamard

“Greed triumphs over human life and human rights. These companies and states are seeing the start of their economic recovery while letting millions of people risk their lives and health because they do not have access to a life-saving vaccine. The poorest countries waste precious time protecting their populations.

“Rarely does such a clear and feasible solution come up. The world is already miles away from the World Health Organization’s current target of ensuring that 40% of people in low-income countries are vaccinated by the end of this year, let alone 70% of people living in low-income countries. ‘by mid-2022. Many countries continue to face overcrowded hospitals and a lack of medical supplies, including vaccines, which has prevented millions of people from accessing hospitals in rich countries which have a constant supply. We don’t have the luxury of time. Rich states must act now. Countless lives depend on it.

NOTES TO EDITORS

Amnesty International has launched a new campaign, 100 Day Countdown: 2 Billion Covid-19 Vaccines Now !. The organization calls on states and pharmaceutical companies to deliver 2 billion vaccines to those who need them most now, to ensure that the World Health Organization’s goal of immunizing 40% of the population of low and lower middle income countries by the end of the year is met.

Currently 105 countries support the TRIPS waiver, but a consensus of 164 members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) must be reached before it is adopted.


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