AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) applauds the European Union (EU), South Africa, India, and the US for reaching a compromise on waiving intellectual property protections on COVID-19 vaccines, according to POLITICO. AHF urges all EU countries and World Trade Organization Member States to promptly ratify and enact the proposal to expedite global vaccine access immediately.
“While this compromise is woefully late considering South Africa and India proposed an IP waiver on COVID-19 vaccines in October 2020 – we welcome the decision as a step in the right direction for expanding vaccines to the low- and middle-income countries that are still severely lacking access,” said AHF President Michael Weinstein. “The world has been waiting for there to finally be some progress on vaccine equity at the WTO. Now that the EU and US have agreed to set things in motion, we urge all EU countries and the remaining WTO Member States to follow suit.”
The first COVID-19 vaccine was made available in December 2020. Since then, due to vaccine hoarding by rich countries and refusals by vaccine producers to share know-how and technology, most low- and middle-income countries have been stuck waiting for enough doses to vaccinate their populations. Currently, only 14% of people in low-income countries globally have received even one dose, and barely 14% of people across the African continent are fully vaccinated.