“Everyone has the right to have access to a vaccine vaccine COVID-19 that is safe, effective, timely and based on the application of the best scientific development ”, the experts She said ahead of the three-day summit of the G7 intergovernmental group of major UK countries, which starts on Friday.
There is no time for barriers
The nine independent experts said it was time for “international solidarity and cooperation” to help all governments vaccinate people and save lives.
“This is no time for lengthy negotiations or pressure to erect barriers to protect corporate profits,” they stressed.
Despite the extraordinarily rapid production of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, rapid action has not been followed to promote equal access in all countries and regions.
“Billions of people in the global South are left behind. They see vaccines as a mirage or a privilege for the developed world “, the experts explained, who, they added,” would unnecessarily prolong the crisis, drastically increase the death toll and exacerbate economic distress, possibly sowing social unrest “.
Priority to equity
Rights experts echoed theirs declaration last year on the human costs of the pandemic, stating that at a time when millions of people face poverty and hunger, G7 leaders must make it their top priority to protect the lives and health of people in the most socially and economically precarious situations.
“It’s shocking that, second WHO [World Health Organization] reports, less than one percent of all vaccines administered so far have gone to low-income countries, “stressed, stressing that intellectual property rights must not become a barrier to low-cost manufacturing and supply expansion .
UN experts urged pharmaceutical companies to join the WHO’s COVID-19 technology access pool (C-TAP) for sharing know-how, data and intellectual property and reminded that while the while TRAVEL Agreement on intellectual property rights provides some flexibility, including the possibility of compulsory licensing in the event of a national emergency, which is insufficient to respond to the current pandemic.
“Maximizing the production of safe vaccines must take precedence over profiting from a global pandemic,” they said. “States must ensure that the legal protection of intellectual property and patents does not affect everyone’s right to have access to a safe, timely and effective vaccine.”
Experts reminded states to align their actions with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and to ensure that multilateral institutions, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), “do not limit the ability of their member states to fulfill their duty to protect or prevent companies from respecting human rights”.
Maximizing safe vaccine production must take precedence over profiting from a global pandemic – An expert
According to UN experts, financial and technical support, along with safeguarding access to production, must be strengthened for developing countries to produce vaccines locally.
They approved a declaration from the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, arguing that unequal access to vaccines for least developed and developing countries is discriminatory and undermines progress towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
“We are particularly impressed with the role that civil society organizations and activists have played in galvanizing the support of numerous states and stakeholders behind the demand for a vaccine available to all, everywhere and for free,” they said.
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Independent experts are appointed by the UN based in Geneva Human Rights Council examine and report on a specific human rights issue. The offices are honorary and the experts are not paid for their work.