UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the current global distribution of COVID-19 vaccines is “totally unacceptable.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for the need to double COVID-19 vaccine production capacity and a fairer redistribution of traits to the developing world, which is facing new waves of coronavirus.
Many countries are experiencing a shortage of the vaccine, especially India, which is exacerbated by a terrible wave of infections that has left hospitals and morgues overflowing as families search for increasingly scarce drugs and oxygen.
At the same time, some rich countries have gone beyond vaccinating their most vulnerable citizens, offering the prick to the youngest, while several countries have managed to supply enough vaccine to inoculate their populations more than once.
“It is totally unacceptable to live in the world, where developed countries can vaccinate most of their population, while many developing countries do not have access to a single dose,” Guterres said Wednesday at a briefing after meeting. with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow. .
He mentioned the risks of coronavirus mutations and new variants as the virus spreads “like wildfire” to different parts of the developing world.
“Therefore, it is in everyone’s interest that everyone be vaccinated everywhere. We believe that we need two things: to double the global capacity of vaccine production and, at the same time, to have a more equitable distribution of vaccines “, said Guterres.
Last October, South Africa and India filed a petition with the WTO to waive intellectual property rights over vaccines and other medical technologies needed to fight the coronavirus during the pandemic. More than 100 other countries have supported this call.
Last week, Guterres welcomed U.S. government support for the waiver of the patent.
The decision ultimately rests with the World Trade Organization (164 members) and, if only one country votes against a waiver, the proposal will fail.
The WTO chief said on Friday that the US administration’s call to remove patent protections on COVID-19 vaccines would give a boost to negotiations to resolve inequality of access, but that the decision in itself would not solve the problem.
The pharmaceutical industry has argued that a waiver will do more harm than good in the long run.
Facilitating patent protection would affect its profits, potentially reducing the incentives that push companies to innovate and make the kind of big leaps they made with COVID-19 vaccines, which have occurred at a lightning-fast and unprecedented rate.
The industry has also claimed that vaccine production is complicated and cannot be increased simply by simplifying patent rights.
Instead, he said reducing savings in supply chains and shortage of ingredients is a more urgent issue.
The industry has insisted that a quicker solution would be for rich countries to share their vaccine reserves with the poorest.
“A waiver is the simple but wrong answer to what is a complex problem,” the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations said. “The waiver of patents for COVID-19 vaccines will not increase production or provide practical solutions needed to combat this global health crisis.”