Equity in Access to Covid-19 Vaccines - Eastern Mirror
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Editorial

Equity in Access to Covid-19 Vaccines

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By The Editorial Team Updated: May 12, 2021 11:17 pm
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The global community must unite as the task of containing Covid-19 cannot be accomplished by any single nation. It requires a combined effort by all to prevent this lethal virus from spreading. Already, Covid-19 has caused immeasurable damage in terms of loss of life, economy and education. So far, 3,306, 954 precious lives have been lost worldwide. Global economy is on the verge of collapse as international trade and commerce has been severely hit due to the ongoing pandemic. As a result, the job market is also shrinking. Students are unsure about their future and have no idea when they will be able to finish their studies. Continued surge in fatalities is pushing the people into depression, the world today is in disarray.

So the need of the hour is to tackle this menace unitedly. In this regard, the first step should be the waiver of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) as a mass vaccination drive is required to tame this deadly virus. But at present only a few countries are capable of producing vaccines and they are not interested in offering vaccines to other nations until their citizens are completely immunised. This is creating a huge gap between demand and supply. Already, countries like Canada, South Korea and Bangladesh have shown interest in manufacturing vaccines if not barred by the patent law. Several pharmaceuticals companies have also expressed their desire to manufacture the vaccines provided the patent law is kept in abeyance until the situation normalises. If the nations agree to make IPR temporarily ineffective, it is certain that the vast gap between supply and demand can be bridged to a great extent.

In the absence of such a move, the unbalanced nature of our fight against Covid-19 can be seen by the fact that the United States of America (USA) is now planning to immunise even teenagers as the country has adequate number of vaccines. But other nations are not so fortunate. Pointing towards the disparity, Nature a weekly journal of science in an analysis has claimed that 80 per cent of the world population belonging to poor nations have access to less than one-third of the available vaccine doses. Sensing the gravity of the situation, 175 eminent personalities including Noble laureates in a letter have urged US President Joe Biden to suspend IPR. Similar appeals have also been made by India and South Africa to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The proposal enjoys the support of more than a 100 nations.

Covid-19 cannot be brought under control until each nation has equitable access to vaccines, drugs and testing kits. Any failure in ensuring equity will severely hamper our endeavour in combating the virus. This is not the time to encourage vaccine nationalism or profitability. Rather, it is time to stand beside each other to prevent further spread of the virus. Waiver of the patent law will be the first step in this regard. Thus, all nations should come together and unite in the fight against Covid-19 without delay.

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By The Editorial Team Updated: May 12, 2021 11:17:26 pm