Access to any successful vaccine must be shared with the world’s poorest people and not become a “global postcode lottery”, Christian Aid has warned.
Responding to the news that a Covid-19 vaccine is 90% effective, according to manufacturer Pfizer/BioNTech, the international NGO is calling for any successful vaccine to be made available to people living in poverty in all countries.
The charity is calling on governments to support the global call for a people’s vaccine made at the World Health Assembly in May 2020.
Christian Aid has also called, in its recent report Building Back With Justice, for governments to ensure that access to Covid-19 testing and treatment services are universally free at the point of use.
Patrick Watt, Christian Aid’s Director of Policy, Public Affairs and Campaigns, said:
“Today’s announcement could be a turning point in the battle to contain Covid-19 and reduce its huge toll of human suffering. But for that to happen, governments must back the global call for a people’s vaccine that is available to poorer countries as well as the wealthiest. Access to any successful vaccine must not become a global postcode lottery.
“We are calling on the UK and other G20 governments to coordinate a global response to the pandemic, and agree a recovery plan at the UN. The UK and other G20 countries must support the WHO initiative, made at the World Health Assembly in May, to combine research and create a global patent pool, ensuring that all drugs related to the testing, treatment, prevention and response to Covid-19 are immediately accessible and genuinely affordable to all countries.
“We noted with disappointment that the proposal to create a global patent pool, which would encourage the production of coronavirus drugs that are affordable for the poorest countries, was opposed at the World Health Assembly in May by the US, UK and Switzerland, perhaps reflecting their status as the homes of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies.”