An international coalition of non-governmental organizations, charities and trade unions has warned that wealthy Western governments will “prolong” the pandemic if they fail to help other countries boost vaccination rates.
The latest COVID-19 variant, Omicron, which some scientists fear may be more trouble than the dominant and highly contagious Delta variant, has drawn new attention to the gap between nations’ vaccination levels.
“While we still need to learn more about Omicron, we do know that until large parts of the world’s population are vaccinated, variants will continue to appear and pandemics will be prolonged,” said Dr. Seth Berkeley, chief executive officer of Gavi, an international coalition dedicated to improving access to all vaccines.
“We will only prevent variants from emerging if we are able to protect not only the wealthy parts, but all of the world’s population,” he said.
Medical charities and trade unions have doubled down on calls to improve access to vaccines in poor countries. The UK and other wealthy countries must share not only the doses of vaccines but the intellectual secrets behind them, organizations including the Trade Union Congress have warned.
The call led to an indefinite postponement of a much-anticipated ministerial meeting, after the World Trade Organisation, the epicenter of activists’ efforts to address vaccine disparity.
The umpire for global trade said travel restrictions imposed in response to the new version would mean many ministers would be unable to travel to the WTO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
Nevertheless, Britain should still support the campaign for an intellectual property exemption for COVID vaccines and treatments at the WTO, the TUC and NGOs said, through a mechanism known as the Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement. called the business-related aspect.
As an important base for some pharmaceutical companies, the backing of the UK and the lobbying prowess of its executives could help turn the dial to debate, he said.
Frances O’Grady, director general of the TUC, said: “The cancellation of the WTO summit is no excuse for the UK not to oppose the waiver at this critical time.” Granthshala,
Yet while some disagree with the theory of increasing access to vaccines, debate has raged over whether waiving intellectual property rights could solve the problem.
The latest variant, first identified in southern Africa, comes from a region where vaccination rates are much lower than their affluent Western counterparts. According to data collected by Oxford, less than 24 percent of South Africans have received the first and second doses of the vaccine. online publication our world in data,
However, the South African government has asked some vaccine-makers, including Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer, to halt deliveries of more vaccine doses until they have deployed existing stocks. Countries, including the southern African nation, have halted their vaccine rollouts with an enormous level of hesitation.
Misinformation, mistrust of medical services and governments, and a lack of feeding infrastructure have stifled efforts to protect people from COVID in developing countries.
But freeing up intellectual property for vaccines and key treatments plays an important role, argue NGOs and charities. There was some renewed hope for the poor country’s vaccination rates on Friday after the world’s largest vaccine maker, the Serum Institute of India, restarted exports for the UN-backed Covax distribution programme. They were stopped in March after the infection increased in India.
“The world now needs to work together to ensure equal access to vaccines. It means giving manufacturers and donor countries the visibility to launch the largest national vaccination program in their history and means that recipient countries use all available resources to get safe and effective vaccines to those they need. require,” said Dr. Berkeley.
For the UK’s part, her government should stop “dragging its feet” on the issue, Ms O’Grady said. “With over 100 countries supporting the waiver, the UK should not be out of step with its international counterparts,” he added.
Many countries lack not only adequate doses of life-saving vaccines, but also many technologies that can help combat the virus, according to Médecins Sans Frontieres.
“It is absolutely shameful that the UK and other wealthy governments have continued to withhold the TRIPS exemption, knowing it has the potential to protect some of the world’s most vulnerable people,” said UK policy advisor for the MSF Access campaign Victorin Di Milliano said. ,
“The government is burying its head in the sand and refusing to acknowledge the role of intellectual property in hindering the global COVID-19 response,” she said. Granthshala.
“Unless governments continue to block measures that can provide meaningful access to COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments, the risk of variants, including variants of concern, will increase.
“Despite the postponement of the 12th Ministerial Conference at the WTO, the urgency to adopt the travel exemption remains. We urge the UK government to finally act on its vague claims of global solidarity and stop making TRIPS exemptions.
“Submission of vaccines in rich countries will only increase the risk of picking up new Covid variants and mutations…
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /