Vaccine patents: Nobel laureates appeal to candidates for chancellor

Dhe dispute over a possible release of patents on Covid-19 vaccines continues. An international alliance of around 75 aid organizations is pushing for the repeal. With a worldwide week of action until next Tuesday, the supporters want to call on political decision-makers to support a repeal of an intellectual property agreement (trips) for all Covid-19-related technologies at the World Trade Organization. In addition, the transfer of vaccine technologies is to be promoted, as the People’s Vaccine Alliance called on Monday. The alliance includes Oxfam, Amnesty International, Bread for the World and UNAIDS, among others.

Germany and a few other countries continued to block the waiver of patent rights, criticized the alliance. This release is of crucial importance for overcoming vaccine monopolies, the transfer of vaccine technology and the expansion of vaccine production around the world.

Government spokesman Steffen Seibert defended the federal government’s position against the criticism that had been raised for a long time. “The protection of intellectual property is a source of innovation,” he said. “It is not the patent release that would quickly solve the problem of vaccine shortages in Africa.” There is a lack of production facilities. On the other hand, as much cooperation as possible through licensing or other cooperation projects would help. There are already many good examples of this, such as that of the vaccine manufacturer Biontech / Pfizer.

Worldwide supply of vaccines is not enough

It is “in the interests of all of us and also a question of global justice to bring vaccine as quickly as possible to all corners of the world where it is needed and where it is still missing,” emphasized Seibert. Germany has undertaken to distribute vaccination doses to other countries bilaterally and as part of the international Covax initiative.

The aid organizations criticized, however, that the global supply of corona vaccines is currently far from sufficient to guarantee nationwide vaccinations. At the same time, rich countries would begin to offer their citizens booster vaccinations. Every day, however, 10,000 people worldwide would die as a result of Covid-19, especially in poorer countries.

The alliance is calling for actions on the subject in many cities around the world on Tuesday. A protest in front of the UN General Assembly in New York is planned for next Monday.

On Monday evening, more than 140 former heads of state and government as well as Nobel Prize winners published an open letter coordinated by the People’s Vaccine Alliance to the German chancellor candidates Armin Laschet, Olaf Scholz and Annalena Baerbock. They call on the three of them to campaign for vaccine patents to be released.

“Germany has contributed to the development of the most successful vaccine technology against the coronavirus Covid-19. And if it now defies pharmaceutical monopolies and insists that this technology be shared, it can make a decisive contribution to ending this pandemic, ”said the appeal, which was made among others by François Hollande, José Luis Zapatero and Gordon Brown signed.

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