Governments urged to lift vaccine intellectual property (IP) restrictions through an open letter
376 trade unions penned an appeal to governments opposing vaccine IP restrictions for the sake of supply chain survival and world trade. The cohort wrote to leaders from the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, and EU Commission demanding a lift of the IP waiver curb for COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and diagnostics.
Flashbacks of dollars and sense dilemma
David Heindel of International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) appealed for vaccine patent waiver in June. His lobbying from the public health perspective was unfortunately dismissed for trade reasons (ironically). Data from the People’s Vaccine Alliance revealed the vaccine created 9 billionaires with a reported combined wealth of US$19.3 billion.
The People’s Vaccine Alliance is a coalition of organisations and activists united with a common aim of campaigning for a ‘people’s vaccine’ for COVID-19. Its members included Free the Vaccine, Global Justice Now, Public Citizen, the Yunus Centre, Frontline AIDS, Amnesty International, Oxfam, SumOfUs and UNAIDS. The call for a #PeoplesVaccine was backed by past and present world leaders, health experts, faith leaders and economists.
The group letter asserted the IP lift would quicken global vaccination rollouts, lest a US$5.3 trillion worth of global GDP gets wiped out as International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) warned. In IMF Chief Kristalina Georgieva’s eyes, vaccination divide is the largest obstacle to full recovery, noting lower-income countries are at risks of new variants. To date, below 3 per cent of people from lower-income nations received a single dose.
Vaccine shortages are fueled by politicised trade dilemmas. Stephen Cotton, ITF’s General Secretary called out the unacceptable blocks by the United Kingdom, Germany and Switzerland. He asserted politicians seemed adamant on socio-economic self-harm to further line Pfizer, Moderna and BioNTech billionaires’ pockets.
Cotton added, “Throughout this pandemic, transport workers have brought citizens to work, back home, and kept critical supply chains moving. Yet the global inequality in vaccines and treatments access stands as an existential threat to workers’ personal safety, supply chains, as well as reinvigoration of the global economy.”
Crewing Online News Team
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