‘Where You Live Should Not Determine Whether You Live’ – COVID Vaccines
We cannot solve a global pandemic without a global solution. That means making sure that the poorest countries have access to the COVID vaccine at the same time as richer countries.
“This is the only way we’ll get on top of COVID – it’s also the right thing to do. It was true for HIV Aids drugs when U2’s Bono said ‘where you live should not determine whether you live or die’, and it’s true of COVID,” says Council for International Development’s Director Josie Pagani.
The Council (CID), which represents around 50 New Zealand aid charities and organisations is asking the New Zealand government to back the call from over a hundred countries to temporarily relax intellectual property rules, so that developing countries can access cheaper generic vaccines.
“If we do nothing, it will take until 2024 for low-income countries to be able to fully vaccinate their populations. As many as 67 poorer countries who do not have deals with pharmaceutical companies, could be left behind.”
As of 18 January, 39 million doses had been distributed to developed countries. Only 25 had been administered in low income countries.
New Zealand has already contributed over $7 million to GAVI, a global vaccine alliance that distributes life-saving vaccines in developing countries. This will help to get vaccines to the Pacific.
“A temporary waiver of patent rules for COVID vaccines is our best chance of tackling COVID globally. Only then can we hope to stem the reversal of 30 years of poverty reduction as a result of the COVID crisis,” says Josie Pagani.
An open letter was sent to the government today.