The decision by the US government to support a TRIPS waiver on the patents protecting COVID-19 vaccines could be a game-changer in the campaign to ensure equitable distribution of the vaccine around the world.
In response to this latest development, Justin Derbyshire, CEO of HelpAge International said:
“This is a huge step forward in tackling vaccine equality around the world and we need the other G7 nations and major pharmaceutical companies to follow the lead shown by the US.
While governments of rich nations are hoarding vaccine supplies, millions of people in low- and middle-income countries have no prospect of being vaccinated any time soon.
The lifting of the waiver and loosening intellectual property restrictions on the vaccine recipes would remove a major barrier preventing more countries from making their own vaccines.
This decision showed courageous leadership at a time when it is needed most. We need only look at what is happening in India to be reminded that this pandemic is far from over and the only way out is to ensure those most in need around the world can benefit from the vaccine.
We need the vaccine to reach those at risk and older people must be treated as a priority group. This means that we must support vaccine outreach programmes which consider the barriers they face to accessing information about the vaccine.
President Biden’s government has set an example on the need to put people before profit. The rest of the world must follow his example and ensure that the vaccine can reach those most in need around the world.”