The US and a few other wealthy countries lead the world in vaccine production and delivery.
According to the NYT Covid World Vaccination Tracker, the US is in a fortunate group of countries that have pulled ahead of the rest of the world to provide their populations with vaccines that can save lives, jobs, economies, and general well-being. This is wonderful, but most people in the world are still suffering from the ongoing pandemic and dangerous new virus variants — without any protection at all.
In Africa just 2% are vaccinated, and without vast increases in vaccine availability there is little prospect of reaching levels that can significantly reduce viral transmission.
For the sake of humanity we must close the vaccine gap — and it will take more than just the “humanitarian donations” of vaccines now being offered by the Biden Administration. We need to change the terms of trade at the global level — in other words, waive the World Trade Organization’s patent and intellectual property regulations (known as TRIPS) to allow for accelerated vaccine production to meet the global emergency.
Now is not a moment for Big Pharma to control or hold hostage the fate of nations. Public health should always take precedence over corporate profit; but, at a time like this when delay can literally cost millions of lives, it becomes an urgent moral priority.
That is why Global Exchange has teamed up with the California Trade Justice Coalition to demand vaccine patent rights be ‘waived’ and technology shared so that countries around the world can produce the vaccine, protect their people, and put an end to the pandemic for everyone.
Our efforts are gaining traction and the work to pass a WTO TRIPS Waiver is gaining momentum.
The Biden administration (finally and with YOUR pressure) came out in support of the WTO TRIPS waiver last month.
This waiver is an urgent step to clear the way for mass global production of top quality vaccines. And — thanks to everyone who demonstrated at their consulates and embassies last week — Australia, Japan and Brazil are now backing the waiver as well.
This is all great news! But we’re not there yet.
Big Pharma is working hard behind the scenes to stall and derail progress. And the European Union, led by Germany, is standing in the way of a final deal. We need to continue supportive pressure on the Biden administration and other governments to get the whole world to YES.
We must stay active in this fight. We must continue to ramp up public support for the waiver. And we need your support to see the WTO Waiver over the finish line.
Together we will educate, mobilize and build grassroots pressure. And we won’t stop until vaccines are available to everyone.