One year on from the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic, the People’s Vaccine Alliance is warning that developing countries are facing critical shortages of oxygen and medical supplies to cope with COVID-19 cases yet the majority have been unable to administer a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. In contrast rich nations have vaccinated their citizens at a rate of one person per second over the last month.
Many of these 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) today, 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.
While more poor countries will see the arrival of doses in the coming days from the World Health Organisation’s COVAX facility, the amounts available mean only three per cent of people in those countries can hope to be vaccinated by mid-year, and only one fifth at best by the end of 2021.
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. Humana People to People joined the People’s Vaccine Alliance and is fully supporting the Alliance’s call.
Today, 11th March, protests, rallies and online media campaigns will take place as a part of a global day of action by activist across the world supporting People’s Vaccine Alliance call.