World Trade Organisation
& Heads of State blocking TRIPs waiver
We write this letter to remind you that the world is watching as the WTO council meets to decide on the proposal by India and South Africa on the TRIPs waiver for the Covid-19 vaccines.
9 out of 10 people in developing countries may not receive a vaccine in 2021. India is facing a massive shortage of Covid-19 vaccines necessary to tackle the pandemic. The decisions by the WTO and the member delegates will either strengthen the fight against the pandemic or condemn a large section of the world’s population to fight a losing battle against it.
The equity and access gap in the vaccination rates of rich and poor countries is costing us lives.
Vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostic intellectual property rights and technical know-how are being held hostage by big pharmaceutical companies. Their unwillingness to share the science and technology that’s essential to ramp up production is delaying vaccine rollout in the Global South. In fact, the World Health Organisation referred to it as a “vaccine apartheid”.
The knowledge developed by these companies was significantly funded by public money; it’s only logical that this knowledge is widely shared for the greater good. This is the time to record the power of humanity, not profits. A pandemic anywhere is a pandemic everywhere - vaccines for all could help us end the nightmare.
We urge the international community to stand with us and support India and South Africa’s demand to waive intellectual property and patent rights on vaccines. This is not just a health emergency but part of the larger climate and biodiversity crisis plaguing the globe. How the world responds to this pandemic will teach us what is possible for us as humanity - can we respond as a community?