Bill Gates says no to sharing vaccine formulas to developing world
Rich nations vaccinating one person every second while the majority of the poorest nations are yet to give a single dose!
The Global Elites want to keep vaccine patents locked. The US remains non-committal on waivers. Now, Bill Gates has said no to lifting patents to share vaccine formulas with the developing world. These patents on vaccines are the biggest roadblock towards recovery. Let’s see how?
Many of the rich nations, including the US, UK, and EU, are blocking a proposal by over 100 developing countries to be discussed at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which would override the monopolies held by pharmaceutical companies and allow an urgently needed scale-up in the production of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines to ensure poorer countries get access to the doses they desperately need.
Almost one million people worldwide have signed a call by the People’s Vaccine Alliance – a group of campaigning organisations including Oxfam, Frontline AIDS, UNAIDS, Global Justice Now and the Yunus Centre – for rich nations to stop protecting big pharma monopolies and profits over people’s lives.
All the leading vaccine developers have benefited from billions of dollars already in public subsidies, yet pharmaceutical corporations have been handed the monopoly rights to produce and profit from them.
At the same time, qualified vaccine producers all over the world stand ready to produce more vaccines if they were allowed access to the technology and know-how which is now being held under lock and key by these companies.
To control the virus, enough doses of vaccines need to be produced in different geographies, priced affordably, allocated globally, and widely deployed for free in local communities. Thus far, the world is failing on all four fronts.
Quick things to ponder
Rich countries with 14% of the world’s population have secured 53% of the best vaccines. Almost all of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines will go to rich countries. The Moderna vaccine will go to rich countries exclusively; it is not even being offered to the poor.
Washington is sitting on vaccines, making sure no one gets any while the US needs them. The European Union has exported 34m doses to, of all places, Singapore, Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong – countries that have no problem sourcing or paying for vaccines. In fact, the EU sent about 9m doses to the UK, a country which, no longer in the EU, also has what amounts in practice to an export ban of its own, official denials notwithstanding.
South Africa, Africa’s worst-hit country, is buying Oxford’s AstraZeneca vaccine at nearly two and a half times the per-unit price of European countries. AstraZeneca’s French division told the press in November 2020 that it was capping the price per dose at €2.50, but somehow European countries are buying doses below the cap and African countries far above it. Canada has bought more doses per head than anyone else – enough doses to vaccinate every single Canadian five times over. But the entire continent of Africa – home to 1.3 billion people – has been allocated a total of 300m doses. As of the last week of January, in all of sub-Saharan Africa, only 25 vaccines had been administered. Twenty-five. The director general of the World Health Organization warned that the world was on the brink of a “catastrophic moral failure”. But the west has passed the brink a long time ago.
The world is dying while the west is busy hoarding
Oxfam International’s Executive Director, Gabriela Bucher, said: “Around the world, two and a half million lives have already been lost due to this brutal disease and many countries are battling without adequate medical care and no vaccines. By allowing a small group of pharmaceutical companies to decide who lives and who dies, rich nations are prolonging this unprecedented global health emergency and putting countless more lives on the line. At this crucial time, developing countries need support – not opposition.”
The Alliance warned that in South Africa, Malawi and other African nations history is in danger of repeating itself. Millions of people died in the early 2000s because pharmaceutical monopolies had priced successful treatments for HIV/AIDS out of reach at up to $10,000 a year.
Lois Chingandu, activist and Director of Evidence and Influence at Frontline AIDS, said: “Here in Zimbabwe, I have lost many dear friends, struggling to breathe in their last moments. It is a cruel irony that activists who fought tirelessly for free medicines for HIV/AIDS are now being killed by COVID-19 because, yet again, pharma profits are being put ahead of people’s lives.”
The poor who struggled to eat and survive, lockdown after lockdown, will wait in line and die. Covid-19 will destroy many things, but hopefully to the broken scaffolding of our moral imagination.
Global west the so called economic giants : US, UK and EU has blood on their hands.
About the Author
Ruth Jane is a non-conventional feminist whose aim is to highlight stories of injustice, crime against women, and dying morality worldwide.