The right to health belongs to every person, regardless of who they are, where they live, or how much money they have. Now that COVID-19 vaccines have been found, it must be available to all people. In all countries. Free of charge. It must be a People’s Vaccine.
Inequality and poverty are depriving people in the race to roll out COVID-19 vaccination mostly in the middle and low income countries. It cannot be a business as usual, with a for-profit approach, there needs to be a change. One that saves lives and helps the battle against the coronavirus.
‘A COVID-19 vaccine must be seen as a global public good, a people’s vaccine,’ said the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the 4 June 2020, Global Vaccine Summit. The key message shared by the UN Secretary General is at the center of the growing concern for making the COVID-19 vaccine free for all and not a profit venture.
Humana People to People have joined The People’s Vaccine Alliance, a growing movement calling for COVID-19 vaccine to be treated as a public good and not for profit. The People’s Vaccine Alliance is a coalition of organisations including Amnesty International, Free the Vaccine, Frontline AIDS, Global Justice Now, Oxfam, Public Citizen, SumOfUs, Tearfund, UNAIDS and the Yunus Centre.
The solidarity shared among these progressive health and humanitarian organisations, past and present world leaders, health experts, faith leaders and economists is centered on urging for safe and effective vaccines development, rapid production at scale and made available for all people, in all countries, free of charge.
Our best chance of staying safe is to ensure a COVID-19 vaccine is available for all as a global common good. This will only be possible with a transformation in how vaccines are produced and distributed — pharmaceutical corporations must allow the COVID-19 vaccines to be produced as widely as possible by sharing their knowledge free from patents.
Instead they are protecting their monopolies and putting up barriers to restrict production and drive up prices, leaving the majority of humanity in less endowed countries in danger. No one company can produce enough for the whole world. As long as vaccine solutions are kept under lock and key, there would not be enough to go around. We need a People’s Vaccine, not a profit vaccine.
Emerging economic powerhouses such as China and India are starting to donate some of their COVID-19 vaccines to the Less Developed Countries of Asia, Africa, South and Central America. The good gesture is worth applauding, especially coming from two countries which have their own challenges to overcome.
Humana People to People support the People’s Vaccine Alliance in calling on the first world countries’ governments and the big pharmaceutical companies holding the COVID-19 power dynamics to ensure that the COVID-19 vaccines are provided free of charge to everyone