CAPE TOWN – While scientists hailed Pfizer and BioNTech’s major breakthrough in the fight against Covid-19.
A health and social justice group based in the UK, has warned that the lack of equitable access to the Pfizer vaccine was endangering thousands of lives across the globe.
Following Pfizer’s announcement about the positive early results of its coronavirus vaccine trial on Monday. The company has already sold 82 percent of its vaccine stocks to some of the world’s richest countries.
An analysis conducted by Global Justice Now revealed that the countries, which have bought up hundreds of millions of doses between them, represent just 14 percent of the global population.
In a statement, director of Global Justice Now, Nick Dearden said unless we break the stranglehold of these massive corporations over our medicines, the injustice will continue.
Dearden also echoed South Africa and India’s proposal that the World Trade Organization suspend the rules on intellectual property for vaccines and treatments related to Covid-19.
“It is imperative that we end the vaccine nationalism and that sufficient supply is made available to all, on a fair basis, as a matter of urgency. That can be helped by supporting governments like South Africa and India who are trying to suspend intellectual property rules at the WTO during this global emergency,” he said.
Amnesty International’s Researcher on the Right to Health, Tamaryn Nelson, says big Pharma profits must not be prioritized over the health of billions.
“It’s worrying that Pfizer-BioNTech has already struck deals with rich countries for more than a billion doses of its vaccine, leaving less than a quarter of its projected supply for the rest of the world. These kinds of bilateral deals risk undermining the potential benefits of scientific breakthroughs.”
Meanwhile, a separate research by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation shows that the equitable distribution of the Covid-19 vaccines globally would prevent 61 percent of subsequent deaths, compared to 33 percent of deaths avoided if doses are shared among rich nations first.
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