COVID-19 vaccines must be a global public good, a peoples’ vaccine. Humana People to People joins the growing calls for patent rights waiver on COVID-19 vaccines.
Non-waiver of intellectual property rights have created inequality in global COVID-19 vaccination. COVID-19 vaccines have created 9 new billionaires with combined wealth greater than the cost of vaccinating the world's poorest countries.
Between them, the nine new billionaires, have a combined net wealth of $19.3 billion, enough to fully vaccinate all people in low-income countries 1.3 times. Meanwhile, these countries have received only 0.2 percent of the global supply of vaccines, because of the massive shortfall in available doses, despite being home to 10 percent of the world’s population.
In addition, eight existing billionaires –who have extensive portfolios in the COVID-19 vaccine pharma corporations– have seen their combined wealth increase by $32.2 billion, enough to fully vaccinate everyone in India.
People’s Vaccine Alliance, a social movement campaigning for COVID-19 to be declared public goods – for everyone everywhere, has analysed Forbes Rich List data to highlight the massive wealth being generated for a handful of people from vaccines which were largely public-funded.
Vaccine billionaires are being created as stocks in pharmaceutical firms rise rapidly in expectation of huge profits from the COVID-19 vaccines over which these firms have monopoly control. The monopoly allows pharmaceutical corporations total control over the supply and price of vaccines, pushing up their profits while making it harder for poor countries, in particular, to secure the vaccines they need.
Earlier this month the US-backed proposals by South Africa and India at the World Trade Organisation to temporarily break up the existing monopoly and lift the patents on COVID-19 vaccines. This move has the support of over 100 developing countries. In recent days Spain, China, Germany have also declared their support, as has the Pope and over 100 world leaders and Nobel laureates.