COVID VARIANTS MAKE CASE FOR STRENGTHENING GLOBAL VACCINATION EFFORTS
The UK Tory Government is under mounting pressure to step up the battle against COVID by waiving intellectual property rights to vaccine patents - at least temporarily - in order to enable developing countries to manufacture vaccines.
With the Omicron variant posing a threat to public health, Patricia Gibson MP challenged the Prime Minister to waive the rights to enable poorer countries to tackle the pandemic effectively.
Failing to take “right steps” would continue to harm efforts to tackle the health crisis.
Earlier in the pandemic, the UN secretary general, António Guterres, criticised the “wildly uneven and unfair” distribution of COVID vaccines. He warned that if the "virus is allowed to spread like wildfire in parts of the global south, it will mutate again and again...This could prolong the pandemic significantly, enabling the virus to come back to plague the global north – and delay the world’s economic recovery."
Patricia Gibson said:
"The inequality and imbalance of vaccine production and administration is self-defeating.
"While richer countries vaccinate their citizens, those in poorer and developing countries are being left behind, harming our efforts to properly tackle the health crisis.
"The pandemic does not recognise borders or discriminate when it infects. The only way to deal with this pandemic and COVID variants is through a strengthened global approach.
"The UK Tory Government must learn from its numerous mistakes and take the right steps morally and for the health of people here and across the world and waive intellectual property rights to vaccine patents.
"Temporarily suspending patent rights covering COVID-19 related technology, particularly vaccines, will help ramp up vaccine access in developing countries and the fight against the pandemic.
"The reality is that we will not defeat this virus if we are not all working together. The UK Tory Government must stop blocking the waiver to support access to vaccines around the world."